Pay ballot: getting the message across to members

By far the most important task for reps and advocates during the pay ballot period is talking to members about the importance of their vote, so we can achieve the 50% turnout required.  We also need members to tell us that they have voted.

We need to do this in a way that’s both effective and doesn’t fall foul of management constraints.

A new guide for branches, entitled ‘Talking to members during the ballot period’, has been emailed out and contains useful information and tips on how to approach this vital job. Click here to download the guide.

The key points to remember are:

  • Every PCS member in every workplace must be spoken to and reminded to vote, at least once during the ballot period.
  • Every PCS member must be encouraged to tell us that they have voted, by going to They can also tell us they have voted by clicking on the ‘I have voted’ button that will be sent to personal email addresses or mobile numbers, or they can tell their reps. More guidance here.
  • Every single member must be handed information about the ballot eg by handing out leaflets as members come in to work. Aim for mass leafleting sessions twice a week throughout the ballot period.
  • Make sure your workplaces look and feel like union workplaces. Update union noticeboards, ensure PCS lanyards, coasters and pens are available and visible, and that every non-member has a PCS recruitment form. There is no restriction on handing any of these out.
  • Phone calls and emails from head office are only a supplement to the far more important face-to-face contact activists have with members.
  • One of the best ways to get the message across is by holding members’ meetings – at least two during the ballot period.  You should ask those who attend to help get the vote out. Use committee members, leaflets, social media, branch websites  or Whatsapp to remind members about the meeting – to be safe, avoiding using departmental IT systems.
  • Most employers will not allow branches to hold meetings on work premises, or give time to attend, if the meeting is specifically about the ballot or the prospect of industrial action – but it’s always worth asking. Be persistent about getting agreement to hold members’ meetings eg in the car park at lunchtime or after work. Managers may take the lazy option and say no when, in fact, a solution is possible.  

Need to know:

  • From Saturday 30 June we began running phone banks to contact all members who have yet to indicate that they have voted. We need reps and activists to volunteer to help phoning members. Contact your regional or national PCS office.
  • National ballot materials are being sent out to branches during the ballot. Materials are sent to reps who are registered as ‘PCS distributors’ irrespective of any other union position held. To update who receives materials contact the PCS membership department – or call 020 7801 2670.
  • Download the branch guide here.

Updated 3 July 2018

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