The union has issued this guidance to members in the civil service about the strike on 10 July called by PCS and other unions.
The PCS action is in pursuit of a national pay claim and was triggered by a decision of unions in local government to take strike action over pay.
Prospect deputy general secretary Leslie Manasseh said: “Negotiations are still under way in delegated bargaining units. Industrial action may be considered or pursued by some individual branches, and others are planning lunchtime protests on the day. But we do not believe that there is an appetite now among Prospect members for national strike action.”
Picket lines and the law
On 10 July, there may be picket lines at Prospect members’ place of work. PCS picketing will be aimed at employees in PCS grades and not intended to prevent Prospect members from attending work on that day.
Legal constraints mean that protection against disciplinary or other action is only given to trade union members who are covered by the original strike ballot for their union. In previous PCS guidance reflecting this point, the union advised its own members on picket lines “to seek support in other ways, such as asking them to attend rallies, email their MP etc”.
Prospect members who decide not to cross a picket line would be liable to be deemed in breach of their contract of employment, putting themselves in an individually vulnerable position. In law Prospect cannot advise members to take such action.
Members should, however, not carry out work normally undertaken by colleagues taking industrial action.
Manasseh said: “If pressure is put on Prospect members to undertake work normally performed by colleagues on strike, they should make the manager responsible aware of this advice. They should then immediately inform their local Prospect representative and refer the matter to their full-time officer.”