Preparing for strike action

Details for the preparation of strike activity and how to get organised

Reps and branches should have plans in place if they are called upon to take action in support of our campaigns.

A day of action should not come as a surprise to your members as branches should have already held workplace meetings, talked to individual members, issued materials and information. BEC’s should ensure all of their workplaces have been ‘covered’.

In the week or so before a strike is due to take place it is good to make a list of all the staff in your area and find time to talk to them individually and plan to:

  • Ask them to strike and ask them what they will do on the strike day
  • Ask those committed to striking to speak to their colleagues
  • Ask them to help out on the picket line
  • Think about how you will reassure members about striking
  • Ask non-members to join the union, so that they can take part.

Be aware that some members will not lawfully be able to strike, such as agency workers, but might like to support the campaign in other ways.

Hold a meeting

Hold a meeting, this may have to be in the car park or off-site as management are very unlikely to provide facilities. You may need to run more than one of these and invite non-members and ask them to join – remember to have a supply of PCS application forms.

Anti-union tactics

Management may put staff under pressure not to strike by meeting with them individually and asking them not to strike. Getting to members first and giving advance warning that they will do this and that they have the legal right to strike and need not be intimidated is important in defeating management’s tactics.

Preparation for the day

Hold a reps’ meeting and discuss all the things you will need for the day, including:

  • Where will you stand? You will need to avoid being on private property, or blocking the public highway.
  • What is the minimum number of pickets you need to cover each entrance fully?
  • Get mobile phone numbers for all those helping out on the picket
  • How will you encourage members not to go into work?
  • What will you say to non-members who attempt to go into work?
  • What will you say to the public?
  • Make sure you have enough placards, yellow jackets, picket armbands and recruitment forms for the day.

Your branch should also appoint someone to steward each picket, coordinate people on the day, be the point of contact for media queries and report back to PCS headquarters via text, personal email or social media. Try to provide a photo from each picket.

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