“The time for action is now” – Mark Serwotka on his union’s pay campaign

Yesterday, PCS launched a crucial ballot of our public sector workers as part of our campaign to end the pay cap, and secure pay increases for our members. PCS has been campaigning against the pay cap since it was introduced and I am proud we have fought austerity pay from the beginning.

There has never been a more important time to step up our campaigning. The general election, and post-election period have seen public sector pay become a major political issue. The government is weak and under pressure from all sides to lift the pay cap.

Reports have suggested the government may lift the pay cap for some, but not others. There is a possibility that while uniformed staff and senior civil servants may get the cap lifted, the vast majority of public servants, including the government’s own workforce, will not. We are clear, we must guard against divide and rule tactics from the Tories.

Yes, nurses need a pay rise, but so do the porters and cleaners that keep our hospitals running. Teachers need a pay rise but so do teaching assistants and all other school support staff.

In the civil service our members perform important work delivering public services – Jobcentre workers, staff in courts, our border staff and the HMRC workers who collect the tax that pays for the public services we all rely on. They all need and deserve a pay rise that stops the decline in living standards.

We are at a critical moment in the pay campaign; it is time to say enough is enough. Government pay policy and inflation has seen the value of civil servants’ pay fall by an average of £3,000. If it continues – as planned – until 2020, the value of civil servants’ pay will have fallen by 20%.

The time for action is now; we will step up our campaigning before the Budget on 22 November and make sure the government cannot ignore its own workers, and the rest of the public sector.

PCS is consulting its members on the pay cap and testing their willingness to take industrial action. If the government doesn’t make significant concessions in the November budget we need to be strike ready.

The PCS consultative ballot runs until November 6. While we know it is most effective to campaign against the pay cap across the public sector, PCS members must show our employers, ministers and the chancellor that we are prepared to fight to end the cap. We urge other public sector unions to become ballot ready too. We are stronger together.

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