PCS pay ballot turnout hits 50% mark in Scotland

Written by Beckie Smith on 17 April 2019 in News
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Scotland turnout gives union hope it will hit the UK-wide threshold it didn't reach in 2018's ballot

Photo: PA

The PCS union has said that more than half of its members in Scotland have voted in the union’s UK-wide pay strike ballot, meeting the threshold required to ensure that the exercise is valid. 

The union is balloting its members across the country on whether to strike over what it has said is a failure to remedy a real-terms drop in pay in recent years, leading to a drop in living standards for civil servants.

PCS announced yesterday that it had hit the 50% turnout mark, required under trade union legislation for a vote to be binding, across Scotland based on data collected by via its branch app, phone bank and email responses. Across the country, 56 union branches have reached the threshold, it said.


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A similar ballot in 2018 did not lead to strikes because although 86% of the votes had been in favour of strike action, less than half of the union's members cast a vote.

The union is balloting over its calls for a 10% increase in civil servants pay, with a minimum rise of £2,400 for  those on the lowest incomes.

PCS has also called for the living wage of £10 an hour to be applied nationally and £11.55 in London. The ballot closes on 29 April.

The union’s general secretary Mark Serwotka led a rally on Monday in Dundee to galvanise support for the strike.

He pledged that the action would target areas such as ports and airports, which will be under the greatest strain due to Brexit.

Serwotka said: “In the Brexit department, the government is particularly vulnerable.

“That’s obviously in the ports, airports, in HMRC and in departments to do with fisheries and agriculture.

“We are not planning one-day, token strikes. We will be targeting action in particularly difficult areas for the government to make them realise that they can’t tell us how wonderful civil servants are in the midst of Brexit chaos but treat them worse than any other worker.”

Just before the ballot opened last month, Serwotka told members that the political chaos surrounding Brexit preparations gave civil servants critical leverage to negotiate better pay.

Serwotka was appearing before his keynote speech at the Scottish TUC congress in Dundee yesterday, where he called for the government to hold a general election in his capacity as president of the UK-wide trade union umbrella body.

PCS claims that civil servants' salaries have fallen 11% behind the rest of the public sector on average since 2010, due to successive government caps on pay.

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