We have produced the following model motion for branches to pass; if they feel that it was a mistake not to call national action this year alongside the targeted action called by the union last week.
In our response last week we made the point that this strategy has the danger of demobilising members engaged throughout the ballot period, and risks those being asked to take targeted action feeling they are acting alone. We need national days of action as a springboard for the selective action planned.
BECs can submit motions directly to the NEC and they will be tabled for visibility. If these motions come from a properly conducted members’ meeting then the NEC is obliged to discuss them too. Regardless which body passes them, it’s important that branches show the strength of feeling on the current strategy to the leadership.
Please let us know if you pass the motion in your branch or need any support in doing so:
Branch motion on national action for the PCS NEC
This Branch/Branch Executive Committee notes that:
- The turnout in the PCS ballots for industrial action over pay, pensions, jobs and redundancy terms was the largest since the formation of PCS.
- 126 delegated bargaining units (BU) crossed the 50% industrial threshold required by law for strike action and returned a majority Yes vote.
- The turnout and the membership vote reflected:
- a huge amount of pre-ballot work;
- a magnificent engagement with the ballot by a significant layer of activists and members who were determined to deliver a Yes vote to halt the years of pay retreat and other attacks and to resist the unprecedented slashing of the real value of our pay;
- members’ outrage at the cost-of-living crisis gripping them;
- the confidence and inspiration members have taken from other workers and unions who had voted for and taken strike action or who had made the decision to ballot for action.
- PCS membership grew during the strike ballots and, significantly, after the ballot results were announced.
- Vitally, for the future of our Union, new, young, activists played an important role in delivering the Yes votes in many of the BU.
- After years of resisting selective or targeted action the leadership of PCS rightly made such action central to the national argument for a Yes vote but also unequivocally stated in the explanation accompanying the ballot papers, “We will call action involving all members…”
This Branch/Branch Executive Committee further notes that on 18 November:
- The PCS NEC:
- agreed an initial programme of selective or “targeted” industrial action;
- rejected motions calling for one and two days of all out strike action in December across the BU.
- The General Secretary advised members, “The NEC will meet again in mid-December to consider the next wave of strikes…This could include strike action by all members together in the areas that crossed the 50% turnout threshold, possibly coordinated with other unions.”
This Branch/Branch Executive Committee agrees that:
- Selective/targeted action is vital and we salute the members who will take part in such action.
- Selective/targeted action must be complemented by national cross-BU all-out action to maintain the momentum of the campaign amongst members across all BU; to build the active involvement of representatives, advocates and other activists who have a vital role to play, across the BU, in delivering a successful outcome to our dispute; to bolster selective action and the morale and confidence of members taking selective action; and to send an unequivocal message to the Government that we are all extremely serious about winning this dispute.
- The NEC missed an opportunity to link strike action in December with the strike action planned for the same month by the CWU.
- It was a mistake for the NEC majority to vote against national cross-BU all-out strike action in December and that mistake means that activists will have to rebuild momentum if and when the NEC decides to call national strike action.
- We therefore call on the NEC to reverse its decision and, in the absence of that reversal, to quickly announce a first day of national cross-BU industrial action for no later than mid-January.