23 April 2012
For Steve Heyward, branch young members’ officer and national young members’ equalities officer based in Liverpool, talking to colleagues face to face is a very effective way of raising the subject of pay and pensions.
“I have explained to members in my office that we should not pay for a crisis that we haven't caused. The robbery of our pensions is nothing but divisive and we cannot afford to lose so much money in a time where the cost of living is going up rapidly and our wages are not increasing enough,” he said.
“I have held car park meetings, pay meetings, spoken to members face to face and spent time ensuring that people are aware of local demonstrations with anti-cuts groups and rallies with our trade union colleagues.
“More people are prepared to stand up and fight for their pensions and against the government’s cuts programme. We have seen a bigger turnout on our picket lines where the office hasn't been able to function properly on the last day we took industrial action. We will continue to fight for our jobs, pay and pensions and we will not stop because we can win.”
Tip for success: Make sure members are kept informed about local demos.
Dawn Richards, who works two days a week as a rep at the 16-19 funding and children’s internet safety team support in Sheffield, said the reality of the cuts has led to a sharp increase in recruitment.
“People are worried about their job security, not getting a pay rise and the performance system we’re tied to. Recruitment took a big jump in the lead-up to 30 November. What also helps is talking to people and having events,” she said.
“We are always on the lookout for things which affect members and give them some kind of benefits, such as the free will pack, or the financial advice or the helpline numbers which PCS provides. I’m keen on drop-in events, particularly on the health and safety side, including stress and cancer awareness and linking up with Macmillan.
“I would look on the health and safety website and perhaps run a drop-in session on body mapping, asking people if they have any trouble with back ache or wrist pain and from that you might discover medical conditions and refer members to occupational health. We are quite a proactive branch with a fantastic newsletter and the branch executive committee really works as a team.”
Tip for success: Organise a drop-in session.