National pay campaign

03 May 2019

Ballot results and the next steps in the pay campaign


The result of our ballot for industrial action over pay was a 78.9% ‘yes’ vote for strike action and a 91.3% ‘yes’ vote for action short of a strike.

Although this result shows clear support for our campaign, as the turnout was 47.7% we have fallen just short of the statutory threshold of 50%.  This means we cannot take industrial action.

Huge effort

The failure to reach the threshold for lawful industrial action is disappointing, but many areas of the union achieved fantastic results.  The turnout overall was up 6% from the last ballot in 2018. 

The data collected by our new digital technology, mainly the ballot app, shows that where branches reminded members to vote, face to face, the turnout was higher. This suggests that it is our workplace organisation that is instrumental in delivering the turnout.

The campaign continues

The national executive committee met this week to hold a full discussion on the ballot result and make decisions on the way forward.

The ballot result does not mean the end of our pay campaign. Civil servants deserve a pay rise and PCS is determined that the fight for pay justice will continue. We must continue to build our organisation in readiness for a further national ballot.  We will be looking at areas where there was a low turnout and investigating how we can work to improve engagement in those areas.

We will continue to press the government to provide more money for pay which does not involve cuts to terms and conditions. 

We will write again to the Head of the Civil Service, Sir Mark Sedwill, advising him of the strength of feeling among members and demanding discussions on pay.

We will look at what individual departments can achieve, particularly in areas that did get above a 50% turnout in the latest ballot.

Conference motion

At our national conference later this month, delegates will debate a motion on the way forward for the pay campaign.  The motion includes instructions for the national executive committee to campaign for the repeal of the UK’s anti-trade union laws, to lobby politicians to intervene to break the pay cap and to support industrial campaigns (including strike action) over pay at delegated levels.  The motion also commits the NEC to hold a further statutory ballot for industrial action over pay at the earliest appropriate time.

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