PCS Left Unity: take united action to scrap the cap

Please find below a statement from the LUNC on the NEC decision to hold a consultative ballot.

Take united action to break the cap (printable PDF)

PCS will be holding pay briefings over the coming weeks and all comrades are asked to make sure that their BECs are attending, that you campaign for a massive Yes Yes vote in branches and that through trades councils, political tendacies and other organisations you encourage other unions to canvass their leadership to hold similar ballots and get behind the motion carried at the TUC congress calling for joint co-ordinated industrial action.

Please make sure that you print off copies of the statement to hand out at the briefings and any other union events between now and the end of the pay ballot.

Pay statement

PCS Left Unity welcomes and supports the decision of the PCS National Executive Committee to launch a consultative ballot of civil service members to secure a mandate for the scrapping of the public sector pay cap and that funds should be made available for an above inflation pay rise. Also – In the event of the government refusing to scrap the cap that the union achieve the strongest possible indication from members that they are prepared to take industrial action. Members will be informed that a further statutory ballot would be required before industrial action can take place.

This decision offers our union an unprecedented opportunity to build opposition to the pay cap and to build the organisational strength in our workplaces. Left Unity urges all activists to unite in the strongest possible effort to deliver the best possible YES-YES vote to ensure the weak Tory government gets the clear message – we will not tolerate this attack on our living standards any longer.

The ballot, the resolution carried at the TUC Congress and the debates at the fringes should send a clear message to the leaders of the TUC that paying lip service to Congress policy on building a joint coordinated campaign and industrial action is no longer acceptable. The Tories must not be allowed to divide public sector workers by giving minor concessions to “deserving” workers, as they have done with their cynical attempt of offering the prison officers 1.7% and the police 2%, while maintaining the cap for the “undeserving”. Critically, the PCS campaign makes clear that breaking the cap in itself is not enough – adequate funding must also be secured to ensure all public sector received an above inflation pay increase.

Left Unity believes that other public sector unions should follow the example of PCS and organise similar ballots to build the maximum pressure on the Tories to deliver a fair and equitable settlement across all of the public sector.

The Trade Union Act was designed to impose a legal obstacle to workers taking industrial action and while this barrier is not insuperable the TUC must now implement the RMT motion passed at last year’s Congress that called for a special conference for the movement to plan a strategy to overcome this barrier.

The ballot will run from Monday 9th October to Monday 6th November and the full resources of PCS and its activists must be concentrated on winning the greatest mandate possible. Delivering this campaign plan must be the top priority for Left Unity and all PCS activists.

The Tories believe they can hang on to power to prevent a Corbyn government. Along with the political pressure it is now imperative that the trade union movement fights to address the many grievances their members have. Pay is the issue that can unite millions as pensions did in 2010-11 – But this time joint coordinated campaign and action must be seen through until the pay cap is scrapped and ALL public sector workers receive an above-inflation rise.

Gordon Rowntree
National Secretary

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