The PCS NEC has agreed to hold a re-ballot of civil service members this March. The ballot will run from the 18th of March to the 29th of April and will hopefully reach the 50% turnout required by the anti-union laws, falling 8% short of that threshold last year.
The amount of members balloted this year as part of this national ballot is slightly less at 120,000 to allow bargaining units that are not ‘core civil service’ - and therefore not subject to the same pay regime - to choose to opt-in to the pay campaign.
At the NEC PCS Independent Left made a number of alternative proposals to the demands of the campaign as outlined specifically in the penultimate issue of Solidarity.
As a result of our intervention the unions claim of 8-10% will now be underpinned by a minimum pay claim of £10/h or £11/h in London. For the lowest paid in government this would mean a 28% pay rise. This is an important improvement on the previous arbitrary claim of the leadership and brings it in-line with the demands for at least the living-wage demanded by outsourced workers and the service industry campaigns.
Equally, the strategy that PCS Independent Left and Workers’ Liberty comrades have long advocated, but which was only adopted by the leadership last year, of identifying areas of maximum industrial impact for targeted action continues. In addition to this, the ballot this time round will also include the question of action short of a strike, in order to allow our members in places such as the ports and immigration to take action in the workplace to cause the maximum amount of disruption in the case of Brexit.
We hope the leadership have learnt the important organisational lessons of last years ballot. Independent Left and Workers’ Liberty comrades have already been doing the important work in our branches preparing the membership for the ballot. During the ballot we will be ensuring we maximise the vote to ensure the biggest turnout which can be translated into considerable, sustained and targeted action across central government departments and agencies.