The new post-election political landscape means it’s well worth maintaining the pressure on politicians over the summer.
The union’s political lobbying has led to some great successes recently, for example by saving some key DWP offices from closure.
With the argument for austerity crumbling across the UK’s nations, and a desperately weakened Tory government at Westminster, it’s important to keep up the momentum while MPs, MSPs, AMs and MLAs are back in their constituencies during recess.
In Scotland, thanks to union campaigning, the SNP government has said it will end the “unsustainable” 1% public sector pay cap and allow employers to bring all pay settlement dates forward to 1 April next year. But PCS members are still piling the pressure on, urging it to address the crisis in living standards by ending the cap now.
More than 700 members signed a giant card that was delivered to finance minister Derek Mackay on his 40th birthday in July.
The card, bearing the message ‘Share a slice of the cake with us’, included members’ messages such as:
- ‘For 20% of your life I have had a cap on my pay’
- The Scottish Government “promotes an equal balance between home and work” – I hope you have this, I certainly don’t!… I now have a second job simply to pay my bills’
- ‘Happy Birthday. Hope your day is filled with more than 1% joy’
- Lobbying and campaigning can take many forms. Use PCS’s ‘How To’ guides to build a campaign that’s relevant to your issues and your area.
It can be particularly effective in constituencies where MPs only secured a small majority in the election.
- For the situation in each area, media outlets like the BBC and the Independent provide election results searchable by constituency.
- Details can also be found on the UK Parliament website, including election result profiles.
- The PCS cuts map shows how each constituency is affected by office closures.
After the summer PCS will be taking our pay fight directly to Tory politicians at their party conference in Manchester, where the union will stage a demonstration on 1 October. Watch the PCS website and Facebook page for updates.
A brief guide to lobbying:
Lobbying – or seeking to influence – people and policy is an effective way to get results as part of a workplace, branch or national campaign. Some key points to know:
- Lobbying can involve many different tactics - from having a cup of tea with your parish councillor to meeting with national government at Westminster, or communicating with members of the public and others in person or via social media.
- Having clear objectives is important - what would a victory look like for you?
- Back up your arguments with research, reasoning, costing and evidence.
- Personalise the issues. What does it mean for you and the people you know? Include the members directly affected.
- Don’t be intimidated – it’s your right to lobby and their responsibility to listen - and don’t be too easily charmed!
- Lobbying can mean dealing with people you don’t naturally agree with.
- Losing your temper will lessen your chances of success.
For help and advice contact:
The National Organising Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7801 2691