You might not be very well aware of it, but the union’s pay demand is for £1,200 or a 5% pay increase.
Actually when you dig further, it is for: ‘real talks on our pay claim of a £1,200 or 5% increase’.
This of course implies that if we had ‘real talks’ then we could settle for less than £1,200 etc.
Our other demands are:
• Ending the pay freeze (strictly speaking the freeze has ended, we are now, with 1% a year, in the pay squeeze phase);
• A properly negotiated, fair performance management system (what does that look like?)
• No more pension contributions increase, no increase in pension age and no reduction in benefits (but from what point do we measure this? If is from now, then what about the previous increases in contributions, previous increases in retirement age?)
• An end to the privatisation and outsourcing of members’ jobs.
Unfortunately the claim is not well thought out; are all, where is our demand for equal pay, for progression to the max?
Without equal pay, if we did get a uniform percentage pay rise the pay gaps between members at the same grade but in different bargaining units would just increase. If you have an EO on £20,000 in one agency and another on £22,000 in another department, then a 5% increase just means in cash terms the first EO is even further behind the second one.
That said, activists must ensure that the pay demand are the forefront of all PCS campaigning, and does not morph into the earlier nonsense of a demand for “talks”. Strike action should not be abandoned if and when talks with the government do take place, as that will enable the Tories to demobilise the dispute without even granting a single meaningful concession.
Of course that is all ABC stuff but unfortunately our leaders have great difficulty in getting beyond A at times.