Since the results of the consultative ballot were announced in November 2017 the union has done very little to build for a strike vote. Yes, there have been upticks in activity around the two pay rallies but the general level of material and messaging to branches has dropped off greatly.
The directive has percolated down to many branches that they should prepare to be strike ballot ready. Yet not all branches have got the memo..
The leadership know from the consultative ballot where the weak areas are; the branches, groups which are far off getting a 50% plus turnout. Yet that information is being tightly controlled on the grounds that the enemy might find out where we are weak; as though they don’t already know.
We have for years criticised the leadership’s style of campaigning. This consists of doing nothing for months on end and then suddenly, with little notice go into frenzied activity. The union seems incapable of maintaining a consistently high level activity; it is all or nothing.
The PCS leadership is incapable also of being straight with members as well. If we want to be ballot ready then we must openly and clearly say so. That should be a consistent message.
The PCS leadership is fearful of sharing information as the enemy might find out but the problem with that attitude is that the membership and the activists won’t find out about things either! Therefore the union should circulate the breakdown of the consultative ballot so that each branch and group knows the task in front of them to get more than a 50% turnout. Yes, the enemy will probably find out but they are not stupid enough not to know where we are weak in any case. Indeed seeing us openly address our weaknesses will more likely convince the enemy that we are serious than any attempt to hide those weaknesses.
In the last posting we said the IL would set out over the coming weeks ideas for winning the dispute.
So for starters we want PCS to:
- Maintain a consistently high level of activity around wining a strike ballot; let’s not wait until the ballot is announced. We have a lot of ground to make up in getting members ready for the vote;
- Repeatedly say what we want – in this case that we want to ballot and that branches have to be ballot ready;
- Use the breakdown of the consultative ballot as a guide to openly directing help to branches.