Action to resolve the crisis in resourcing in the civil service was called for by PCS at TUC Congress today (12).
Seconding composite motion 12 which called for a new settlement for the civil service, PCS vice president Fran Heathcote highlighted the impact on members from reshuffles within the civil service with no response from government about our concerns about a severe lack of resources.
“Our public services are struggling to cope after years of swingeing cuts,” she said. “After 7 years of Tory cuts the civil service is nowhere fully staffed.”
She said that PCS members are on the frontline with public services "understaffed, underprepared and struggling to cope”.
The PCS amendment to the motion called on Congress to campaign on changes in terms and conditions post Brexit and look at impact on staff.
Job and pay cuts
More than 90,000 jobs have been lost and the government’s public sector pay policy has caused real-terms pay cuts of more than 25% for some civil servants.
The motion, moved by FDA, said the TUC should lobby the government to prioritise the good wellbeing and mental health of its workforce.
Gareth Hill of FDA said the civil service must be properly resourced and we must be able to have grown-up conversations about pay without the straight jacket of the 1% pay cap.
He said: “As we move through the post-Brexit landscape we need a brilliant civil service more than ever.
“It’s civil servants who have borne the brunt of austerity but resources in the civil service are being ravaged.”
Mike Clancy of Prospect said the civil service looks increasingly like a poorly-run private company and he said, to address a severe lack of resources, civil service unions might have to consider strike action.
“We might have to galvanise our members to take real action,” he said.
Civil servants need a pay rise
In common with other parts of the public and private sectors, civil servants need a pay rise; but the public also need a properly resourced, properly rewarded, impartial civil service. Governments come and go; the impartiality and effectiveness of the civil service is a vital feature of democracy.
The motion, which was carried unanimously, stressed that new professional approaches are needed to deliver high quality services and ensure fair employment practices. They will not be achieved without strategic vision.
The motion, which was passed, called on the TUC to:
- campaign for a new settlement for the civil service, securing its impartiality and proper resourcing and develop a positive future vision
- campaign for an immediate end to planned cuts, staffing reductions and privatisation in the civil service and its related bodies
- ensure full consultation with unions on the additional resources needed to prepare the civil service for Brexit
- publicise the vital role civil servants have as deliverers of public services
- engage with government to ensure the civil service is properly equipped to deliver an exit from the EU that works for all industries and sections of society.