Most of us in the public sector haven’t had a real pay rise in the last decade. In our organisation, the Independent Office for Police Conduct pay has stagnated for years. Only a very few staff got a slightly better deal last year and we had to fight for that and the smaller raise the rest of us got. The vast majority of members desperately need a pay rise this year because rents and bills are soaring. At the start of the year they said pay needed to be our branch priority but some members are not confident about putting the argument forward in a time of austerity and pandemic. So the branch committee decided to hold a BIG PAY DEBATE. It was a great success.
120 members came to our Big Pay Debate this week where a panel of three members made the case for fighting for pay. Our treasurer led off on why we deserve a pay rise and why the government can afford it and one of our reps did some myth busting. Our 23 year old organiser talked about strikes and campaigning action and how they can recruit young people to the union because they see the point of joining.
The discussion got quite feisty with a couple of members saying they felt well paid and we should focus on younger people but others said we all need more money. This was backed up with comments about rising rent, council tax and energy bills. There was a discussion about whether the NHS should get a pay rise before us. One member said no-one’s ever heard of us and it won’t make any difference. But quite a few people argued hard for fighting for pay and linking up with other unions.
Two weeks previously we had a guest speaker from the NHS pay campaign. They said, “if we care about the services we provide, we have to fight for its funding and part of that is fighting for pay”. So we talked about that too. There were new members who asked about how strikes work and others talked about their experience of going on strike ─ good and bad. We talked about the lessons DVLA strikers had learnt in their campaign about building their branch and getting members involved. We also agreed to invite a DVLA speaker to our next meeting in two weeks’ time.
We have drafted a letter for us all to send to our MP’s to ask for support for public sector pay and we are looking to set up meetings where we can find several staff in the same constituency.
We are now thinking of other ideas for this pay campaign and members want a working group to coordinate our plans to fight for the real pay rise we all need.
IOPC Branch Secretary