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PCS executive agrees next steps in pay campaign following historic vote for action
Marion Lloyd, PCS national executive committee member and PCS Left Unity chair (personal capacity)
On 31 January PCS members from across the UK civil service will participate in pay day protests over public sector pay restraint which has seen a 20% cut in wages since 2010. These protests come on the back of our fantastic consultative ballot result, where 98% voted to reject the pay cap with 79% in favour of action on pay.
The PCS national executive committee (NEC), in which Socialist Party members play a key role, has agreed a number of actions to take our pay strategy forward.
A national pay claim has gone to the cabinet office calling for a minimum 5% increase or £1,200 for all, a wage of at least £10 an hour, and a return to national pay bargaining in the civil service. We want to establish a common pay structure which eliminates inequalities that exist across pay structures as a result of delegated bargaining, introduced by Thatcher to undermine the power of civil service trade unions and lower conditions of workers.
Our leading lay representatives and negotiators will meet in February to discuss and agree plans to build support, to prepare the ground for a statutory national ballot of all our members and to endorse the aims and objectives of our national pay claim.
Activity around the 13 March spring budget statement is also being looked at, including the possibility of a mass lobby of parliament, and we will be mobilising our members to attend the 12 May TUC demonstration in London.
PCS has been at the forefront of resisting austerity and campaigning against the pay cap. Socialist Party members in PCS will continue to develop links with trade unionists in other unions to help build the pressure from below to put pressure on the other public sector unions to take coordinated action on pay.
We welcome the decision by the Unite local government sector to recommend rejection of the pay offer in a consultative ballot. As we go to press, it appears Unison has voted to do the same.
A joint coordinated strategy for action could defeat the pay cap and help get rid of the Tories. The TUC must act now, pulling together all public sector unions in a coalition of the willing to plan out a strategy for action, coordinating existing and future pay disputes.
Young workers fighting for £10 an hour and an end to zero-hour contracts are beginning to get organised, seen by the fantastic victory of McDonald's workers. The movement has an opportunity to mobilise on a mass scale, in the process empowering millions of young people alongside already organised workers.
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