After the budget – steps from ballot-ready to strike-ready

06 Dec 2017

The momentum of the PCS pay campaign is building as we head into 2018 as we argue that the Treasury pay remit, which sets the parameters for settling pay across the civil service, must formally lift the 1% public sector pay cap for civil servants and enable departments to pay above inflation increases.

A ground-breaking result in our consultative pay ballot has provided a solid foundation from which to keep building our campaign into 2018. Our national executive decided today that we will also put together plans for more protests and use the analysis of voting results from our pay ballot to ensure that all workplaces are ballot-ready, so that if we have to move to a statutory strike ballot we can achieve the majority turnout now required under the Trade Union Act, and an even higher yes vote. We will also be talking to the TUC and other unions about joint campaigning on pay.

The TUC has called a national demonstration in the new year calling for a new deal for working people, and backing the campaign for an end to the pay cap and for 5% increases for all public sector workers is an important theme of this demonstration. We will be supporting this demonstration and organising transport from across the UK so that members can attend.  

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The Tories’ attacks on our members’ pay over the last 7 years have created a crisis in civil service pay that is leaving many of the government’s own workers struggling to get by. As a union and a labour movement we must take collective action to force this government to scrap the pay cap, invest in public services and fully fund above inflation pay rises.”

Clear message on pay

Our ballot sent a clear message from PCS members to the government, to fund an above inflation pay increase for 2018. However, in a deeply disappointing budget, the has chancellor failed to listen – so far. So our campaign will continue and increase pressure on the government for a fair pay increase.

The ballot result made history in our union. It was the highest vote in favour of strike action we’ve ever had, with nearly 80% voting yes. The turnout of 49% was the highest of any national ballot since PCS formed two decades ago. A massive 99% of voters said yes to scrapping the 1% pay cap and making funds available to provide above-inflation pay rises.

Without a doubt it showed that, after a 7-year pay squeeze, our members are prepared to fight for a real increase. After a year of action in 2017, which has seen thousands of members taking part in payday protests, rallies, lobbying and campaigning around the ballot, we’re not going to stop pushing on pay now.

That we have built momentum on pay is clear. We all deserve a pay rise and we now need to take the steps in each workplace to show that PCS members are willing to take action if the government continues to refuse to listen in 2018.

Find out more about our pay campaign.

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