Executive hears update on major court victory

18 Jul 2017

Our national executive committee met today and received a full report on our significant victory in the High Court.

As we reported earlier, the court has ruled the minister acted unlawfully when making cuts to the redundancy terms of civil servants last year.

This is a huge win for us, for those made redundant since the cuts were implemented and for those currently facing redundancy.

At a time when the government is continuing to make cuts across the civil service, our strategy is to oppose those redundancies and fight for the best possible redundancy terms. The judgement will assist us in this task.

The Cabinet Office excluded us from the negotiations because we refused to sign up to its outrageous conditions. And the cuts were significant.

They would have meant accepting, in advance of the negotiations, that the terms of the redundancy scheme would be cut by around 30%, meaning a loss of thousands of pounds for some members. In a consultative ballot, 96% of our members voted to reject the employer’s offer.

Since the judgement was released this morning, the Cabinet Office and others have issued misleading statements, insinuating we in some way chose not to take part in the talks.

This is completely untrue and at odds with the judgement that confirmed we were unlawfully excluded. The judgement states:

  • “The Minister could not lawfully exclude the PCSU from the consultation which ultimately mattered in terms of his statutory duty…”
  • “The PCSU, in the letter of 19 June 2016 sent on its behalf, indicated a willingness to discuss such matters and to consider the possibility of agreeing things at the end of such discussion. It did not rule out all possibility of reaching agreement, nor did it indicate that it had no intention of engaging in the consultation process in good faith. It might well have relevant contributions which it could make in the course of discussion which could affect the interests of its members.”
  • “There was no basis on which the Minister was entitled to exclude the PCSU from the consultation…thereby depriving some 160,000 civil servants of a voice in those debates.”

Rather than rush to create the impression that we were somehow at fault, the employer should perhaps take time to reflect that it has been found to have acted unlawfully.

The lesson they should learn is they need to engage with us properly rather than attempting to discard the views of by far the largest union in the civil service, and our 160,000 members covered by the scheme.

Having established the government’s actions were unlawful, the court will rule on an appropriate remedy later this week, which will determine whether the current regulations will stand or be quashed.

Until we know that, any statements from the employer or other parties about what happens next are pure speculation.

We will keep members informed of the facts and issue further information and guidance as soon as we can.

This is a significant victory that shows the value of being a member of our union. If you are already a member, please ask any of your colleagues who are not if they will join us. And if you are not a member, join today.

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