PCS’s campaign to have an ‘army of Advocates’ has been going well, with around 200 more members registered in the last three months.
The union aims to have 10,000 Advocates by 2020, to help with organising work, increase PCS presence and activity in workplaces and create a union ‘culture’.
At the newly-merged branch at Heathrow – comprising Customs and Immigration – organising around the pay campaign has provided a good opportunity for members to come together and organise, including signing up new Advocates.
PCS full-time officer Steven Warwick has been working with the branch to support them with their efforts, and says they’ve run two events so far to get members more involved in the union.
“We emailed and texted all of our members ahead of those meetings to encourage them to attend.
“They were run as all-day drop-in sessions, with the branch reps available to talk to members about their issues, and myself and branch officers ‘floating’ around to update small groups of members on the pay campaign.
“To get members more involved we were mainly just talking to them, asking them if they would pick up small tasks and help the union. They know the difficulties of getting around the Heathrow site, so most of them sympathised and were willing to help.”
Around 30 people came along to the second meeting in January, and 13 of those signed up to become PCS Advocates.
“I think it was about fostering that ‘avalanche’ mindset where we can start small and build up and up. What was excellent was the positivity of the branch officers at the end of the day. They were really encouraged by the support they got and people volunteering to help and are keen to do more and more,” said Steven.
Similar work has been going on at other large sites, including DVLA Swansea and HMRC Benton Park. At the end of 2018 around 26 people signed up to short training sessions at the DVLA and they all became Advocates.
The Advocates training package has been updated, and will be distributed to branches along with a briefing.
FIND OUT MORE:
PCS Advocates: pcs.org.uk/advocate