Massive vote for action on pay, but anti union laws will block a strike

30 Apr 2019

PCS members in the civil service have voted by four to one in favour of strike action and action short of strike over pay, however, the ballot turnout of 47.7%, while over 6% higher than in 2018, is still just under 3,000 votes short of reaching the required 50% threshold.

Question one

The number of individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot                124,710

The number of votes cast in the ballot                                                          59,452

Votes cast in the ballot as a % of individuals who were entitled to vote        47.7%

 

Question: Are you prepared to take part in strike action?

Number of spoilt or otherwise invalid papers returned                                670

 

Result of voting

Yes       46,352 (78.9%)

No        12,430 (21.1%)

 

Question two

The number of individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot               124,710

The number of votes cast in the ballot                                                           59,452

Votes cast in the ballot as a % of individuals who were entitled to vote       47.7%

 

Question: Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of strike?

Number of spoilt or otherwise invalid papers returned                                1.064

Result of voting

Yes       59,296 (91.3%)

No        5,092 (8.7%)

 

The turnout of 47.7% is the highest ever achieved in the history of PCS, and up and until 2016 would have given a strong mandate for strike action. However, in 2016, in a politically motivated attack on workers’ rights, the coalition government introduced an undemocratic restriction in strike ballots; a 50% turnout threshold.

The law requires members to vote by post rather than on-line, means that in a ballot covering 125,000 members in thousands of UK workplaces meeting the threshold is a significant challenge. However, our turnout has increased by 6% from 41.6% in 2018, which shows that in the future breaking the 50% threshold is now possible.

The result will be deeply frustrating for tens of thousands of civil servants who voted for action and, after a decade of below inflation pay increases, desperately need a pay rise. The result will be hugely disappointing for the thousands of PCS reps across the UK who campaigned so hard for a strike mandate over pay.

The ballot result means that PCS cannot call a lawful civil service-wide strike, but will not mean the end of our pay campaign. Civil servants deserve a pay rise and PCS is determined that fight for pay justice will continue.

PCS General Secretary, Mark Serwotka said: “I am proud of our campaign and of our reps and members, but like them I am deeply disappointed and frustrated that undemocratic laws, devised solely to prevent workers exercising their right to strike, have succeeded. The campaign will continue until we achieve pay justice for our members."

The PCS National Executive Committee is meeting this week and will decide on next steps and the PCS conference, which takes place in late May, will consider how to take the campaign forward including our approach to national and departmental pay negotiations.

Further communications will follow later in the week.

Share PCS:

Visit PCS social sites:

FacebookTwitterYouTubeFlickr