Want a say in who runs your Union? Here’s why you need to vote twice

By now you should have received your ballot papers in the post for the election of the PCS National Executive Committee (NEC). This is to determine who represents you at the highest level of the union. This will decide who makes the decisions on matters that affect all Civil Servants and who negotiates with Cabinet Office etc. on things like Civil Service Pensions, the Civil Service Compensation Scheme and pushing for Civil Service wide pay increases.

Equally important however is who represents you at a Group level. In the DWP, as in other groups in PCS, members will soon receive a second ballot paper by email wherever they have an email address registered with PCS. This ballot will decide who runs your Group Executive Committee (GEC). It is the GEC who talk to your Departmental management leadership on everything from Pay in the Group to Health and Safety at work, how your role in the Department operates, what the policies say which govern how you’re treated at work, what workloads there are and how many staff are needed to do the work.

Voting in both these ballots, the NEC ballot which has been posted to you, and the GEC ballot you should receive by email from 29 April, is vital to decide who acts on your behalf at both Group and National level. Why do the NEC ballot papers get posted even when PCS have your email contact details? This is because of the Anti-Trade Union laws in the UK. All statutory ballots (which the NEC election is counted as) must be conducted by postal ballot. PCS along with other Trade Unions want this practice to be changed to increase member engagement and to make it easier for members to have their say in who runs their Union, but until then the NEC ballot has to be done by post.

We encourage every single member to use their vote. PCS Left Unity in DWP, and alongside our allies the PCS Democrats as part of the Democracy Alliance at National Level, have been leading PCS’ campaigns on behalf of members, fighting for your Pay, Pensions, your safety at work throughout the Pandemic as well as before and since, along with a whole host of other issues which affect your daily life at work in the Civil Service or on outsourced Civil Service contracts.

Please use both your votes to elect a leadership who work day in day out for you, your colleagues and your family’s wellbeing. Please post your NEC ballot paper to arrive by no later than 13 May, and complete your electronic ballot paper for the GEC election by no later than 18 May to decide who runs your union.

Steven Swainston is standing as a Left Unity candidate for the PCS DWP GEC as Group Assistant Secretary and as a Democracy Alliance candidate for the PCS NEC.

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