“We all deserve a pay rise,” was the message from PCS members across the UK who took part in vibrant, well-supported payday protests to call on the government to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap and deliver fully-funded rises for all.
From the north of Scotland to the south west of England, civil service workers said enough is enough – the 7-year pay squeeze has gone on far too long, as well over 100 PCS branches took part in protests today. They stood outside their workplaces, in town and city centres, holding up their photo opp cards carrying the words “Scrap the cap, we all deserve a pay rise.”
Many members have used our new pay calculator launched today to coincide with our protests, with hundreds clicking on it from first thing in the morning to see in black and white the impact of 7 years of pay restraint, which they then shared with chancellor Philip Hammond.
At the Disclosure and Barring Service in Liverpool members were photographed with cards showing their losses, which would run to thousands of pounds if the pay cap stays in place until 2020, as the Tories plan.
Momentum has been growing in the days leading up to the main day of protest.
While the majority of protests took place today a number of members got in early.
Protests were kickstarted last Friday (22) by PCS members from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) who came together for their photo opp.
On Wednesday, our members in the Metropolitan Police and Uxbridge HMRC also got their protest in early. As did staff at the Competition and Markets Authority in London, at the Wallace Collection in London and DWP Sparkhill in Birmingham. While PCS HMRC reps in Bradford also held a protest.
Flags and ponchos
There were big turnouts in many major cities, including Liverpool, Leeds, London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Plymouth, Exeter and Edinburgh.
A hard hat next to a ‘we all deserve a pay rise photo opp card’ from the Scottish Government Marine Scotland branch, was one of the more imaginative photos on the day. While members at our Scottish Government branch in Leith threw their caps in the air to symbolize the lifting of the cap.
There was a fantastic turnout for a lunchtime car park meeting by the DWP Falkirk CSA branch with dozens of members turning up. While PCS president Janice Godrich joined the payday protests at DWP Glasgow Northgate.
Payday’s a lifetime away
MOJ member Sharon shared why she was protesting in a blog for PCS: “I never really thought about the impact of a pay freeze until each payday became a lifetime away and I try my best to stretch the money I have to provide the best for my children.”
There was a good turnout by CPS members in Sheffield, who had come prepared with ponchos at the ready. There were plenty of members with PCS flags outside Euston Tower in London despite the early morning rain and support from general secretary of the TSSA Manuel Cortes.
There were also solidarity messages on social media from Labour’s shadow education minister Angela Rayner, NEU president Louise Regan and the People’s Assembly ahead of the protest of Tory party conference they are organising, and PCS is backing, in Manchester on Sunday.
PCS members deliver the vital public services which keep our country running. Since 2010, research shows that our pay has fallen in value by nearly 10%, or by between £2,000 and £3,500 in real terms. Civil service pay has fallen further and faster than the rest of the public sector and the private sector.
Our members sent the strongest possible message to the government, that we all deserve a pay rise. And next month PCS is planning to consult more than 160,000 members in a ballot over the government’s ongoing pay cap. Many members were keen to show their support for our national ballot of all public sector members – taking photos with vote yes cards. The ballot asks members to support breaking the public sector pay cap and seek the funding needed for an above-inflation pay rise. The ballot will also consult on members’ willingness to take part in industrial action. The ballot will be held from 9 October to 6 November.