With just a few days to go until our strike on 1st February, PCS branches up and down the country are working flat-out to make the action a big success.
New members are joining in droves, with membership going over 194,000 this week, the highest yet since before the withdrawal of checkoff, and our media profile and coverage are at an all-time high. Combining targeted action with all-member action has certainly given the media plenty to talk about, and all areas involved in targeted action so far have reported significant membership growth.
When the NEC met on 18th & 19th January, we agreed plans for further areas to target and this twin-track strategy, alongside national action when it will have the most impact, is not just the same old tired method which, although popular in terms of protest, had little impact on shifting the employer or the government. The NEC will be meeting again on 7th February to review the day, take stock and decide next steps. Groups that narrowly missed beating the threshold (like HMRC), are currently reballoting and should be in a position to join in soon, meaning an escalation of approximately 30,000 members joining the campaign. The government is in chaos now.
Our strategy has proved popular with reps and members, when explained properly, and has certainly put PCS in the spotlight. Although understandably, the levy idea needed some explaining, and there were some attempts made to portray it as something it wasn’t, membership has not fallen in any significant way, in fact, overall, it is climbing fast.
Reps are reporting members feeling enthused by the idea of coming out on strike alongside other unions taking action, and whilst there is bound to be lots of attention on the teachers striking, and schools being closed, we are working hard to get PCS the attention we deserve on the day too. With so many workers striking together on the 1st, we need to make sure that we’ll be impossible to ignore.
The Left Unity leadership of PCS has been driving this campaign and we owe it to our members to make it the biggest success possible. With rallies planned in many towns and cities around the UK, many with PCS speakers, let’s make sure we have a vibrant presence at all of them.
PCS hasn’t taken national strike action since 2014. If you haven’t done this sort of thing before, and it all seems daunting, there is a lot of advice and guidance out there. Check the PCS website, or get in touch with more experienced reps and members about how to make the day a success. Don’t be intimidated by any manager telling you you have to notify your intentions, you don’t, and if you feel under pressure, just say you haven’t decided what you’re doing yet.
– Support your picket line, and if you can’t get to the one at your place of work, support another picket line, whether it’s a PCS one or organised by another union. Bring your kids, bring your pets, make some noise!
– Send a solidarity message. When workers are on strike, it really helps and boosts confidence to know that others support you, and you are not alone.
– Attend a rally or demo if there is one near to where you live – that will give you a real sense of the sheer size of the campaign against what this government is doing, and they can be great fun too.
-Send us your pictures and reports. Left Unity will be providing coverage of the day from as many areas as possible, whatever you’re doing, let us know about it! Email reports and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We really need to hear from you. Let’s work together to make February 1st a success and ensure that whatever is agreed next, it has your input and ideas, and that we have the maximum impact on this rotten government.
If you’re not yet a member of Left Unity, the socialist grouping within PCS, join us. We are working positively to build the biggest campaign and fightback in defence of PCS members, and in support of a strong, well-organised PCS.
We want to work with like-minded PCS activists to make sure that PCS remains a fighting, campaigning union, and that we build on everyone’s ideas to make the national campaign a success,
Beating the ballot threshold in so many areas was historic. It has put us in a great position. Let’s not squander that opportunity. Let’s build together for the 1st and beyond.
Please get in touch if you want to find out more about the work of Left Unity.