Civil Servants ballot over pay

Image Credit: Jules Newton

By a PCS rep

The PCS is embarking on another pay ballot due to run from 18 March until 29 April. This is the second ballot in two years due to the treasury refusing to agree to an above inflation pay increase.

Last year the ballot did not get the required 50% of the membership to vote despite achieving the highest turnout of any national ballot in the union’s history – demonstrating the strength of feeling about stagnating wages. The draconian anti-union laws that the Tories introduced meant that we couldn’t use this, either to launch a legal strike, or as a bargaining tool at the negotiation table.

Civil servants seem to always get a raw deal with pay; it has been over 10 years since the last above-inflation pay rise. In the past year NHS and other public sector workers were given above rate pay rises for the first time in many years, Even MPs have given themselves a 2.7% pay increase, taking their salary up to £79,000 per year, a raise (and salary!) PCS members can only dream of.

Fight for 10

This year’s pay offer is set at 1% for the vast majority of civil servants. This excludes the employee deal (DWP) which comes to an end this year, following significant year on year rises for three years in exchange for working a late night and working a Saturday every four weeks and to bring the DWP in line with salaries in HMRC.

A lot of people did not want to enter the employee deal and feel that they have been let down, not only by the government but also PCS, some people stating that the pay rise they had wasn’t enough to buy a pint of milk. The PCS leadership can go some way to healing these divisions by fighting for a real and equal pay increase for all.

PCS are demanding a 10% pay increase, to catch up after the meagre deals of previous years and the cost of living, which keeps rising while salaries don’t. For example, council tax in my area is increasing by 3% this year, three times the rate of the Tories’ offer.

PCS wants as many people to vote as possible, in order to achieve the 50% threshold. There are two questions. Red Flag says, vote yes for industrial action, and vote yes to action short of a strike, i.e. a work to rule. Its going to be an interesting few months within the civil service as we could see our first national strike since the 50% threshold was introduced in 2015 as part of David Cameron’s anti-union laws.

All civil servants deserve a decent pay rise – if the MPs can have one why can’t we? If you are in PCS please be sure to vote and post your ballot papers back so we can win against the Tories.