Mark Serwotka – Brexit chaos creates leverage

14 Mar 2019

PCS members in the civil service and related areas have been uniquely betrayed by this cruel and out-of-touch government.

A decade of pay restraint has seen civil service pay fall below inflation by more than 15%. Last year, when other parts of the public sector broke through the pay cap, the government secretly agreed to limit our pay increases to 1–1.5% and, to make matters worse, in January the head of the UK civil service offered a disgraceful 1% increase in exchange for terms and conditions.

That’s why we will be holding an industrial action ballot. We need to force this shambolic government to negotiate on our pay claim. With the complexities of Brexit looming large over every government department, you’re needed now more than ever. With a yes vote in the ballot we will hold maximum leverage over a government in total disarray.

While a massive 86% voted for action in last year’s ballot, we didn’t reach the 50% turnout threshold for industrial action to be legal.

Therefore, we’ve taken key decisions to ensure we break through the threshold. Those balloted will be limited to the core UK civil service. If we are to beat the threshold, we need to include areas that can deliver the strongest possible vote. Across the union we’re running major recruitment exercises, and we’ve invested in digital technology to assist in organising.

Vote yes

You will be asked two questions and we’re asking you to vote ‘yes’ for industrial action and ‘yes’ to action short of a strike. With Brexit on the horizon, the union would call a mixture of strike action and targeted action short of a strike in key areas that would cause large-scale disruption for the government if they refuse to negotiate meaningfully.

The union’s national executive committee also agreed to increase membership subs by 50p a month. I understand that many members are struggling, but this small increase will generate over £100,000 a month, every penny of which will go to our strike fund to support colleagues taking targeted action, and help to win better pay for all of us.

For far too long you’ve been taken for granted by this government. We are determined to secure the pay rise members so desperately need and deserve.

This article is taken from the March 2019 issue of PCS People which is online now.


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