For a long while certain branches and activists had been told, informally, to go onto a war footing but that message had not been systematically sent around all of the union.
If we had been in charge then the preparation for the ballot would have started from at least the New Year but better still soon after the consultative ballot had been announced.
So we have we lost time. A further worry is that there is no real sign that PCS HQ is working hard towards being strike ready itself.
No material (as yet) is being sent to branches to distribute to members; pay days rallies are being proposed – again! There is no sign of targeted help to the weaker branches. The results of the constructive ballot, broken down by branch, are not freely available. Therefore many branches don’t know the gap between ‘their’ vote and the 50% needed in a statutory ballot. Activist meetings are being organised by regional offices but they are not being convened to consult activists and branches on ballot messages, strike tactics etc. They are not fledging strike committees; it is very much a case of ‘PCS HQ has decided to do this, how can you deliver that’.
PCS HQ now has to up its game drastically (one email from Mark Serwotka doesn’t count). If we are going to win a ballot, let alone deliver strikes, then we have to flood branches with material now. The union also must co-opt activists/members into the planning and running of the ballot campaign/strike action. We believe that it is vital.
In fact that is a key difference between us and the current leadership. They operate top down. Members and activists are the stage army whose job is to do what they are told. We want the union to be really membership lead. That is why we are standing in the NEC elections as we want the union to fundamentally change. We want a union that properly prepares, that takes the time to engage members and activists. If you want an end to amateur hour, then vote IL.