While no final decisions have been made about a possible third strike ballot over our pay claim in the civil service and related areas, preparations are being made over the summer to make sure we are ready for another vote.
PCS needs all its activists to put in some groundwork now – including using a new version of the PCS Branch App – so we can be sure that we can break the 50% turnout threshold next time. See below for our reps’ ‘to do’ checklist and more on the new Organising App.
Our pay negotiations need the clear support of members behind them if they are to be successful. The most tangible way to demonstrate that is through a well-supported ballot that shows they are prepared to take action if necessary.
Passing the legally-required 50% turnout mark is achievable, with the right collective effort. Our ballot in March/April reached 47.7% - just under 3,000 votes short of the threshold. Although there was obvious disappointment at being unable to take legal strike action, despite 79% of voters supporting it, our new organising tactics and the hard work of many reps and staff had achieved a 6% increase on the 2018 ballot.
What do reps and Advocates need to do?
Starting in July, we’re asking everyone to systematically:
• Collect personal email addresses
Members for whom we have an email address are 4 times more likely to vote. We have 70% of members’ addresses and are aiming for considerably more.
• Collect mobile phone numbers
We had reliable contact information for 80k of the 120k members included in the last ballot. Increasing that number will significantly improve our chances of a good turnout.
• Check that we have correct postal addresses for members who will be voting in the ballot
This includes checking that members received a ballot paper last time around, and that members for whom we hold a workplace address are receiving ballot information or would rather use a home address.
• Contact every new joiner to welcome them to the union, help them put a ‘face’ to PCS and get them involved in the union and the pay campaign.
• Intervene with members leaving or lapsing on their union payments to try to retain their membership – members who are leaving the union expect to be persuaded not to! Go and speak to them.
• Identify members prepared to help out with PCS jobs in your branch or workplace. Encourage them to give what time they can as a PCS Advocate.
• Get used to using the new Branch App, due out later in July. (see below)
New Branch App
These summer tasks will be helped by the introduction of a new version of the Branch App.
The Organising App is scheduled to be available to branches from 22 July and support will be provided by PCS staff.
It can be used for wider organising purposes than the existing App – which was used during the last pay ballot to increase turnout by tracking who had voted – and will be a permanent feature available to branches.
Separate versions of the App will be available during national disputes and in local mobilisations.
Summer is the ideal time for branches to get used to using the App, as part of our essential ballot preparation. We are encouraging as many reps and volunteers (who need to be registered as Advocates) to use the new version.
Remember that branches should have one rep or Advocate using the App for approximately every 25 of their members.
FIND OUT MORE:
Pay campaign: pcs.org.uk/payup
Update membership details: pcs.org.uk/imembership
PCS Advocates: pcs.org.uk/advocate