UK unions join to condemn paltry pay rises

By on 01/07/2018 | Updated on 24/09/2020
Dave Penman, general secretary, FDA Union (Image courtesy FDA Union).

All three UK civil service unions have joined forces to call for the government’s latest pay guidance to be scrapped, labelling the consultation process “shambolic and contemptible”.

In a show of unity, the leaders of the FDA, Prospect and PCS met with David Lidington, Minister for the Cabinet Office, to express their opposition to proposed pay rises of between 1% and 1.5% across government departments in 2018-19.

The Treasury said the proposals would put an end to the 1% pay cap on salary increases for public servants, which was introduced in 2012 following a two-year freeze. Under the government’s plans, departments could offer average awards of 1-1.5%. And they’d have the flexibility to propose awards over 1.5% linked to improvements in public services – as long as they could keep the average rise within that range.

If the cap lifts

But FDA assistant general secretary Lucille Thirlby said: “The latest pay guidance issued by the Treasury confirms that for the civil service, the pay cap is very much still in force.

“Pay awards between 1% and 1.5% do not represent pay ‘flexibility’ as the Government claims, nor do they recognise the huge challenges currently facing our civil service.”

She added that, given the UK’s imminent departure from the EU, the work of civil servants is more important than ever to ensure continuity in the delivery of public services. “Civil servants should be valued for their commitment, dedication and hard work, but instead are being treated as the poor relation of public services,” she said. “The Chancellor is covering his ears and refusing to face up to the reality that the current pay policy is not fit for purpose.”

The unions said the negotiation process for their members was in stark contrast to the months of talks which went into securing a pay rise of 6.5% over three years for frontline NHS workers.

Unions united

FDA general secretary Dave Penman attended the Cabinet Office meeting together with his counterparts, Mark Serwotka of the PCS and Mike Clancy of Prospect.

In a message to the FDA’s 18,000 members, Penman said the majority of them would be affected by the latest pay guidelines: “Our single focus for this meeting was the shambolic and contemptable consultation process on the 2018 remit guidance.

“We made clear to the ministers that the three unions had a united position, both in terms of our anger at the lack of meaningful consultation, and in our single demand that the remit guidance be withdrawn and a fresh consultation process begun.”

He said that two promised consultation meetings with ministers had not happened prior to the guidelines being published and that, as employers were given nine months’ notice of the pay cap lift, they should have made a business case for higher awards.

“We were clear that as Minister for the Cabinet Office, Lidington had to be accountable for the outcomes on pay for the civil service and be judged by how those outcomes compare to those across the public sector.”

The PCS is currently balloting members over strike action, with all three unions pledging continued co-operation.

The FDA said Lidington has agreed to respond to their request in writing but has not made any firm commitments.

A government spokesman said: “Civil servants do an outstanding job supporting the delivery of public services right across the country. This year’s pay guidance provides greater flexibility for civil service pay, striking a balance between rewarding our hard working staff and ensuring good value for the taxpayer.”

About Rachel Roberts

Rachel Roberts is a freelance journalist, focusing on politics and social issues, who previously worked as a reporter for the Independent.

One Comment

  1. shahid says:

    if the PM stopped dropping bombs on innocent Muslims, maybe at 800k a bomb we could use that to increase the salary of already hard pushed civil servants. We got no money for the poor but we can fund a WAR that I am sure David Cameron said he wouldn’t be getting involved with because the people have spoken.

    maybe the next leader wont try to be a smart ass and loose a majority then pay out their ass to win it back.

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