What’s next for our public sector pay campaign?

21 April 2022

Our public sector pay campaign began in late February, we have been putting pressure on the Cabinet Office to address the broken pay systems and give our public sector members a pay rise. Now that the pay remit guidance has been published with a pitiful headline pay increase of 2-3%, we move to the next phase of the campaign. 

In the coming weeks and months branch and full time negotiators will be pushing employers to achieve the maximum pay increase for our members. The recommendation from Prospect leadership is that all branches ballot on the pay offer with an additional question around what members are prepared to do if the offer is rejected.

What can reps and branches do in the meantime? 

Develop a campaign plan specific to your branch that addresses how you are going to get members and non-members involved and engaged. How are you going to communicate the issues and escalate activities? Who will do what? Having a plan will help you think strategically and put pressure on the employer if necessary.  

Make sure your branch has done a recent mapping exercise. Doing this not only tells you where to target recruitment and engagement of new members but will help you gain a picture of where your activists and “natural leaders” are. They can help you communicate the campaign aims, gather feelings from members and help the communications flow. 

Maximise the visibility of Prospect, both in your workplace and virtually. Encourage members to wear Prospect lanyards or display campaign backgrounds at Zoom or Teams meetings. Update or create physical and/or virtual noticeboards. Visibility is important as a show of strength to the employer but also as a means of gently escalating actions for more hesitant members. Our organising team can provide campaign poster and badges, so staff can show their support, as well as guidance on digital engagement. 

Make sure you have effective communications pathways in your branch to circulate information in a way that flows in both directions. Ensure the branch can communicate calls to action quickly and evaluate whether you are using the most effective platforms for your membership. 

If your branch needs to improve its membership density, then organising around an issue is an effective way of engaging new members. Train your current members confident in communicating the issues on the pay campaign and ask them to have joining conversations with their colleagues. Your organiser can help with training and resources on how to do this effectively. 

Has the branch held an organising meeting updating members on the progress of the campaign and drawing in non-members and encouraging them to join? 

Has the branch considered a pressure meeting where employers, an MP or another decision maker is invited to hear how the issues of pay and the current cost-of-living crisis is impacting on members? This can be used even of the decision maker declines the invitation. Organisers can support you in putting such a meeting together. 

If we get to the stage of an official ballot we need to ensure that members details are up to date (Ballots have been overturned for this very reason!) so ahead of that possibility branches need to be confident that this is the case. Do your members know how to check and correct their details via the website? We can provide a quick guide on how to do this.