The government's disgraceful refusal to fund above inflation pay rises for our members, confirmed by chancellor Philip Hammond this week, gives members yet another reason to vote yes in our pay ballot.
Our general secretary Mark Serwotka reported back, through another successful PCS Facebook Live event yesterday evening, that he met the chancellor with public sector union leaders at 11 Downing Street on Wednesday. The union’s second Facebook Live session was hosted by PCS president Janice Godrich.
Mark said the chancellor argued that civil servants' pay was on a par with the private sector. But, following a question from PCS member Chris during the Facebook live session that asked if that was the case why are there recruitment and retention problems, Mark, agreeing, said that, according to our research, civil servants' pay not only lagged behind the private sector but the rest of the public sector.
He said: "Public sector pay is behind pay in the private sector, and civil service pay is behind even the rest of the public sector. We have done particularly badly for 10 years. For the last days of the Gordon Brown government we did badly, and for the entire time of the coalition government and now under the Conservatives.”
You can keep up the pressure over pay on the chancellor by doing as thousands of people have already done, use our pay calculator and email him your result.
Mark also revealed during the Facebook live event that the pressure of our pay campaign is being brought to bare on the government as in the last few days, minister for the Cabinet Office Damian Green, had written to him confirming that there is no longer a cap on civil servants' pay and to invite him to talks on public sector pay.
Mark said that lifting the cap would “only be meaningful if when we meet to discuss civil service pay that money has been given to civil service departments by the chancellor in his budget”.
“Otherwise, we would be in a situation where there would be no pay cap but if we want pay rises we would have to use existing budgets, which means fewer jobs. And therefore a yes, yes vote (in our consultative pay ballot) means we’re in a better position in those talks in the new year,” he said.
Asked a question on Facebook about the prospect of industrial action, Mark said that “if the government refused to budge and our members faced another year of pay cuts and we have a really good vote in this ballot then I think the NEC will undoubtedly want to consider moving to a full legal ballot in the new year, hopefully with other unions”.
“I think the best way to put us in the driving seat is to give us a huge yes, yes mandate in this ballot and then all the choices are for us and all the pressure falls on the government,” he added.
Good turnout so far
Mark also gave Janice an update on the ballot, which runs until 6 November. He said that just over a week into the ballot it was "already looking like a good turnout" and that those that hadn't yet voted would be getting reminders in the next few days.
Our second Facebook Live event was popular and so far more than 5,000 people have viewed it either live or on video.
What you can do
- Vote yes in the pay ballot and encourage your colleagues to do so
- Join our payday protests on 31 October
- Use the PCS pay calculator and share your result with the chancellor
- Watch and share the Facebook Live video
- Get involved in our programme of pay activities to scrap the pay cap.
- Ask a workmate to join PCS.
- Consider making a regular, £2 a month contribution to the PCS Fighting Fund to support members taking strike action.