Vote ‘yes’ to end pay betrayal

14 Mar 2019

Members’ involvement in the campaign is now ‘critical’ as we launch a ballot for industrial action over pay.

Our members have been betrayed on pay, and the government is again relying on the same old story that there’s only enough money for a 1% increase this year.

This narrative won’t change unless our members force them to think again.

With the government in disarray, not least over Brexit, PCS members have more collective power than ever to win the pay rise they deserve.

Following consultation, we decided to hold a ballot of 120,000 members in core civil service areas, asking them if they’re prepared to take strike action, and action short of a strike.

We are urging members to vote, and to vote ‘yes’ to both questions.

The postal ballot will be open from 18 March until 29 April. New anti-trade union laws dictate that at least 50% of members must use their vote so we can take action legally.

Large-scale member involvement critical 

Large-scale involvement from members across every employer is “critical” to achieving the turnout we missed out on in our ballot last summer, said PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka.

“PCS has done a huge amount of work on analysing last year’s ballot and using the information to adjust some of our organising tactics. We believe that, if reps get help from our members, we can deliver the decisive turnout and result we need,” said Mark.

The changes include carrying out targeted recruitment drives in big departments, investing in state-of-the-art digital technology to help with organising – such as an app for branches to log campaign volunteers – and more training for reps and new volunteers. Reminding members to vote is critical in a postal ballot, and our key new tool is phone-bank technology that allows anyone to call members free of charge, provided they have a phone, computer and internet access. In order to call every single member we are looking for a minimum of 1,000 volunteers to commit to taking part in the phone-banking exercise, starting on 23 March.

Mark told a recent pay campaign Facebook live event that reaching the 50% turnout was entirely achievable, adding: “The government is dependent on apathy, that people will not bother voting.”

As MPs look forward to receiving an inflation-busting 2.7% pay hike in April – taking their basic annual salary from £77,379 to £79,468 – PCS members are slipping drastically behind their public sector colleagues.

Mark said the MPs’ rise “will only further anger PCS members in the run-up to our ballot”.

While he delivered “warm words” at pay talks in February, the core message from civil service chief executive John Manzoni was “chilling”, said Mark.

Despite earlier promises to lift the pay cap, he told the union there was only 1% available to fund pay increases, unless staff and unions agreed to hard-won terms and conditions being ripped up. This unjustifiable and damaging erosion of our members’ standard of living must stop.

Members are urged to return their postal ballot papers, by 29 April, and to vote ‘yes’ to strike action and ‘yes’ to action short of a strike.

This article is taken from the March 2019 issue of PCS People which is online now.

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