As members attend hundreds of meetings to discuss pay offers and the next steps in our campaign in the civil service and related bodies, the union continues preparations for a potential new ballot and demands that the Cabinet Office gets serious about a fully-funded pay rise that’s significantly above inflation.
Activity around our pay campaign has been continuing apace, with members’ meetings across the country, and a huge effort to inspire people to get involved and further strengthen PCS in our workplaces so we can win on fair pay.
Reps have also been using a new organising app to help collect members’ details, support increased participation in PCS, and gather views on taking action over pay. In a national ballot in April members overwhelmingly supported striking over pay but narrowly missed the 50% vote turnout threshold required by law to take action. PCS is now redoubling efforts to win another ballot if it becomes necessary.
And while negotiators continue to work on 2019 pay deals in civil service departments, general secretary Mark Serwotka and other lead negotiators recently met the Cabinet Office and made 3 demands for a new approach in 2020:
• All of our members must have a pay rise that’s significantly above inflation, to address the 10 years that pay has declined in real terms.
• The pay rise must be wholly funded by the Treasury. No department should have to cut jobs to pay for it.
• Instead of each department having different pay scales, next year we must move to a system where everyone gets the same rates of pay for doing the same work.
They also told the government that they urgently need to solve the issue of our members overpaying for their pensions.
Mark said the union hoped to soon have a different government that would give members what they deserve, but added: “We must prepare to face whatever government is in office. If they don’t agree to our just demands, the strength of the union will decide whether we make progress.”
He urged members to recruit colleagues and get more involved, and said the union was “determined” to win the rises members deserved.
In a number of groups pay offers that fall way below PCS’s claim for 2019 have been rejected by the union and subsequently imposed by the employer. Further meetings will be held in November to receive reports on pay bargaining from delegated areas and consider the outcome of consultations with members.
PCS has also met with its legal advisors to explore potential challenges on equal pay.
This article first appeared in PCS People issue 3, 2019.