This is the most important ballot in the history of our union. Beating the 50% legal threshold that will enable us to take sustained and targeted action is the only way we can ensure our members receive the pay rise they so desperately need and deserve.
However winning this ballot isn’t just about pay, it’s also about demonstrating to the government and our employer that we can, and will, organise and campaign around the issues that are important to our members. It also shows that when the need arises, we can mobilise to take industrial action. Both the government and HMRC are watching this ballot with interest, especially in light of their imminent attacks on our terms and conditions.
The Ealing Campaign
We know that it is possible to beat the 50% legal threshold: we only need to look at our brilliant members and activists in R&C North London who are campaigning to save Ealing tax office. This is our first branch to ballot over Building Our Future and they’ve easily beaten the threshold, with 84% of members voting in favour of strike action and 94% voting in favour of action short of a strike. PCS members staged their first walk out on 20 March so please support them where you can by sending a message of support to RCGroup@pcs.org.uk or on social media using the hashtag #SaveEalingTaxOffice or donate to the strikers’ campaign fund.
Branch campaign plans
It’s important that branches have a plan for the pay ballot which should include the following:
Leafleting: it is vital that we speak to as many member as possible, face to face, to ensure they know to expect a ballot paper, to vote YES/YES and most importantly, to make sure they actually post their ballot paper. Although we have facilities to do phone-banking, we know that we might not be able to get hold of everyone and in some cases we either don’t hold members' up-to-date contact details. Leaflets have already been sent to the named distributors on commix.
Systematically approaching every member using the new Branch App: By now, branches should have received details of how to access the new Branch App. This is a brilliant tool that enables activists to update our records when a member has confirmed that they’ve posted their ballot paper. The Branch App will be regularly updated with data from our phone-banking sessions and other sources so we can ensure that we focus our time and effort towards members who have still to post their ballot papers. Systematically approaching every member, in every branch, to ensure that they’ve voted in the ballot will make the difference between us winning or losing this ballot, so please ensure your branch plans to approach every member.
Phone-banking: During the ballot period we need as many volunteers as possible to contact our 125,000 members to urge them to vote. The new phone-banking app will enable activists to make calls from anywhere (at no cost) so please encourage your reps, advocates and members to register for this by clicking on this link: Register here. A step by step guide detailing how to use the app can be found here: Call Hub guide.
Recruiting new members
Recruiting new members remains a top priority for the union. Branches should make plans to approach every non-member to ask them to join. As long as completed application forms have arrived with the membership team before close of business on Friday, 12 April, any new members will be able to vote but it’s quicker and easier to register to join online.
Getting everyone involved
We have 1,000 reps in our group using facilities time so if we can turn every one of them into volunteers to give as much time to the campaign as their personal circumstances allow, we will have a significant amount of resources at our disposal. PCS Advocates and ordinary members should also help where they can.
Please remember that we cannot use HMRC systems to communicate about the pay ballot so branches might want to consider setting up a Whatsapp group to communicate regarding branch campaigning activity. Additionally, branches can organise regular lunchtime campaign meetings.
Prioritising the ballot
We appreciate how busy branches are but we ask you to prioritise this work over everything else, wherever possible. We have 40 days to beat the threshold so let’s make every day count.