Pay ballot needs Big Organising tactics

Mass involvement by PCS members who will commit to working together will be a significant factor in winning our current pay campaign and future battles.

In the run up to the next pay ballot the concept of ‘Big Organising’ will be brought fully into practical use to massively increase the power of the union.

Members will be asked to volunteer to participate in a range of pay campaign activities.  Actions will include a huge phone-banking session in which we aim to involve 1,000 members in contacting everyone voting in the ballot.

Combined with detailed plans and consistent communication with members, this form of mass involvement works by systematically recruiting large volumes of volunteers and trusting every one – whether new or experienced – with specific tasks.

Big Organising was used to great effect in the Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke political campaigns in the USA, and featured in the UK Labour Party’s campaigning tactics adopted by Momentum during the 2017 election campaign.

Potentially ground-breaking
An important element in those campaigns was the use of digital technology to mobilise an army of campaign activists to make direct contact with voters.

PCS plans to use the Big Organising method to sign up 1,000 members to carry out large-scale phone-banking in the first couple of days of the pay ballot. This is likely to be on 20 and 21 March, with additional phone calls taking place later on in the ballot period, reminding members to vote and making sure they have posted back their ballot papers.

Having learned from the experience of our 2018 pay ballot, software will be available to enable any member to autodial from anywhere.  It takes 5 minutes to register your details and to start being able to make calls.

The combination of the use of new technology with the numbers of people taking part could be ground-breaking for PCS’s future organising potential.

The Big Organising idea feeds in to the ‘6 Steps’ that PCS is building on ahead of the pay ballot, to maximise participation, develop our ability to be able to communicate face-to-face with all our members, and ultimately achieve a large majority of yes votes in a pay ballot.

Analysis of the result from PCS’s 2018 statutory pay ballot – which fell short of the legally required 50% minimum turnout – has shown a clear link between lower levels of activism and lower voting figures.

PCS has a national target of reaching 200,000 members, and recruiting 10,000 PCS Advocates, by 2020.

What can you do?

  • Recruit non-members. We’re aiming to increase net membership by 5% by April
  • Sign up more PCS advocates. You should have one rep/advocate per workplace and/or one rep/advocate per 26 members. Give them tasks to do, such as talking to members about coming to your branch AGM…
  • Get members along to the AGM. It’s a key test of whether members are engaged in your branch – we’re aiming for 25% attendance this AGM season.
  • Ask every member who attends an AGM – or any members’ meeting – to pledge to support the pay campaign by volunteering to take part in one, or more, specific activity.
  • Talk to members face-to-face about the pay campaign. How would they vote in a ballot, and why?
  • Ask every member to update their contact details online. We’re aiming to get addresses for 80% of members by April.
  • PCS is developing an app that reps and volunteers can use to check off whether members have voted or not – watch this space

Find out more:

Sanders campaign organisers explain some of their methods on these videos:   

Read: Rules for Revolutionaries How Big Organizing Can Change Everything by Becky Bond and Zack Exley.

Updated 11 February 2019

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