Read our coronavirus crisis branch organising guide

23 Mar 2020

Our short guide offers 7 suggestions and reminders to branch reps and activists about running branches efficiently and effectively during the crisis.

    Trade unions have a leading role to play during the current crisis. Our primary focus is to look out for one another, working together to come through the most extreme test we have faced collectively in our lifetimes. PCS members, and increasingly non-members, look to their union as a reliable and confident source of support and advice, as well as a route to be able to marshal our collective strength so that we can help others, at work and in our communities. 

    Read and share the 7 suggestions and reminders to branch reps and activists about running branches efficiently and effectively.

    1 Set up a digital BEC and branch

    With increasing amounts of reps staying at home it is likely that the day-to-day running of branches and communication with members will be more difficult. Start by setting up a WhatsApp or Facebook group of the BEC, including additional reps or advocates in your branch, so that all the activists can keep in touch with each other even when not in work.

    It may also be feasible to set up a separate branch WhatsApp or Facebook group. Ask members if they want to be added, so they can receive quick updates but also keep reps and advocates informed about what is taking place in their offices.

    Tip: Fewer members will have or want Facebook accounts than those who have mobile phones that can run WhatsApp, so WhatsApp may be the most useful, simply because more members can download and access that platform.

    2 Ask non-members to join

    Non-members are joining PCS than in any other time in the union’s history.  Working people want the support and reassurance that collective.  Ask non-members to join our union now.

    3 Urge members to update their personal contact information

    We need to be able to contact our members. Reps and activists should remind members to register for and log in to PCS Digital and update:

    • Their mobile number
    • Their personal email address
    • Their postal address.

    And ask every member to remind their friend and colleagues to do the same.

    Branches should use the Organising App and prioritise members who have a red box on their contact information, followed by those with amber boxes. These are members who we hold no, or only partial contact information for.

    4 Produce a regular branch bulletin

    Keep your branch bulletin simple, text-based and regular and use it to keep it in touch with your members.  Even if there’s not much to say, say it anyway.  Let members know your branch is there and how to make contact and ask for advice. Direct members to information that will be regularly updated on the news section of this website.

    5 Encourage members to give us their views

    PCS is running a number of ongoing surveys to ask our members what’s happening and what their priorities are. We also ask members to commit to get involved in their union and in union activity.  Getting direct feedback from members is crucial in shaping our strategic response to the key issues. Remind you members to respond to the surveys when they receive them by email.

    6 Lots of members want to help – encourage them

    Thousands of members have told us they would like to get involved in their union. Sign them up to be PCS Advocates. Explain the role. Direct new advocates to the advocate section of the website and the training and support available.

    7 Working in the community – setting up PCS Locals

    PCS members across all branches and workplaces are coming together in the communities where they live and work so they can help others and continue to campaign on the big issues, on pay, equality, job security. There are already dozens of PCS Locals that have been set up. You will be able to sign up to your PCS Local in the next few days. Separate guidance and advice will be provided on this very shortly, but you can get together with friends and colleagues who are PCS members or non members interested in joining and getting involved, and get your own PCS Local up and running now.  Let us know what you have planned and organised by sending an email to

    Organising locally has never been more crucial – mutual aid and support networks have already started forming across the country. PCS members will live and work in the same communities, and joining PCS Locals presents with the opportunity to organise at home as well as in work – whether that’s checking in on colleagues who are home working, or dropping off essential supplies to anyone self-isolating

    Join PCS today

    It is a very important time to be a union member and together we are stronger - join PCS online today.

    If you have questions about the impact of coronavirus on you, visit your PCS employer group page on the PCS website in the first instance. This should be updated regularly with advice and information about the current situation.

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