The powerful have always hated being ridiculed or shown that they have no clothes. Slow moving, ponderous armies have been defeated by more flexible, fast moving opponents.
Whilst the employer is powerful in the work place and increasingly more sophisticated in its corporate messages, the key problem it has, is that the reality it pushes does not match up with the real world.
So it claims to be against bullying, harassment and discrimination (BDH) but the scores from the People Survey shows endemic levels of BDH. It claims to believe in diversity and inclusion whilst running HR systems that systematically discriminate. It says that staff are its’ chief asset, that staff welfare is its primary goal, whilst shutting hundreds of offices, allowing real living standards to decline with year after year with sub inflation pay increases and tolerating shocking levels of unequal and unfair across the Service.
The union has to play on the differences between the corporate message and the reality. And this will be all the more important in any ballot that takes place following conference.
A rational union would therefore call upon the hundreds, if not thousands of members who are active social media users, asking them to work with the PCS to get messages out about the vote etc. This is more than just passing on what the union says, but it is members putting out their own complementary messages and also feeding back to union HQ themes, messages, ideas for the union to broadcast far and wide.
The model we should be aiming for is the social media set up that has grown up in the Labour Party. Faced with the mass hostility of the press and broadcasters, the leadership of the LP has tried to bypass the media and go direct to voters via social media. In this they have been helped by Momentum and the Digital army.
We need the same set up but it will require a radical shake up in the way we communicate. Out with official communiqués with the obligatory quote from Mark Serwotka; instead we should have daily if not more frequent messages, graphics, videos etc. We should mock and satirise the employer. Humour is a vital weapon to deploy. This means the union has to turn things around in hours rather than ponderously get agreement from the General Secretary and all relevant senior managers and lay officials. We have to be nimble.
If you want a union leadership that understands we are in the digital age, rather than the analogue age (to reuse a phrase) then vote PCS Independent Left in the NEC and DWP/HMRC GEC election.