The biggest strike ballot of the year so far began on Monday—and it could see up to 150,000 civil service workers walk out over pay.
The PCS union members are fighting hard to secure a big Yes vote in the run up to the ballot closing on 23 July. They are also pushing to reach the Trade Union Act’s 50 percent turnout threshold.
Paul Williams, a PCS national executive member, spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity.
“Around 35 PCS activists met in Birmingham last Saturday for a ballot training session,” he said.
“It’s one of a number held within the last two weeks aimed at encouraging activists to share ideas about how to win the vote.”
He added, “Many new and younger activists are attending and people are leaving these sessions with renewed confidence. We’ve talked about phone banking, social media, and face to face meetings.
“Winning the vote will have a huge impact for PCS members and will breed confidence to resist.”
The Tories are enforcing a 1 percent pay cap in key government departments despite lifting it—slightly—for NHS and some local government workers.
Cabinet office officials admitted to union negotiators in recent talks they were using 2015 spending budgets to calculate pay.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said, “We will use the mandate we get from our members to press the government for a meaningful pay rise.
“But they should be in no doubt that if they fail to deliver the goods, we will deliver the biggest strike of the year in the summer.”