Today we are launching a crucial ballot of public sector workers as part of our campaign to end the 1% pay cap, and secure pay increases for PCS members. We have been campaigning against the pay cap since it was introduced and I am proud we have fought austerity pay from the beginning.
There has never been a more important time to step up our campaigning. The general election, and post-election period have seen public sector pay become a major political issue. The government is weak and under pressure to lift the pay cap from all sides.
Reports have suggested the government may lift the pay cap for some, but not others. There is a possibility that while uniformed staff and senior civil servants may get the cap lifted, the vast majority of public servants, including the government’s own workforce, will not. We are clear, we must guard against divide and rule tactics from the Tories.
Yes, nurses need a pay rise, but so do the porters and cleaners that keep our hospitals running. So do jobcentre workers, our border staff and the HMRC workers who collect the tax that pays for the public services we all rely on.
We are at a crucial time in the pay campaign; it is time to say enough is enough. Government pay policy and inflation has seen the value of civil servants’ pay fall by an average of £3,000. If it continues – as planned – until 2020, the value of civil servants’ pay will have fallen by 20%.
The time for action is now; we need to step up our campaigning before the budget on 22 November and make sure the government cannot ignore its own workers any longer. What better way of doing this than a high turnout in our ballot overwhelmingly in favour of action?
And turnout is crucial – we must show the government that we can and will take action if necessary despite their anti-union legislation, including a 50% turnout requirement.
The ballot runs from 9 October to 6 November. While we know it is most effective to campaign against the pay cap across the public sector, PCS members need to show our employers, ministers and the chancellor that we are prepared to fight to end the cap.
It’s vital we use this opportunity to vote yes and send a very clear message to the government; civil and public servants deserve a pay rise and we are willing to take action if necessary to end the pay cap.