The pay cap has been smashed for some PCS members in Scotland, but most of our membership is still fighting on and they are urged to vote in our national strike ballot.
In Scotland the misery of the 1% pay cap has, until now, affected all public sector workers. But now, due to PCS pressure, civil servants working in Scottish Government offices are to receive pay increases of around 5%, while their colleagues across town in jobcentres, tax offices and other UK departments are still fighting to break the cap.
The division has arisen because public sector pay policy in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Parliament for almost everyone except UK civil servants. Around two thirds of civil servants in Scotland are employed by the UK government, meaning many thousands are still threatened with another year of the 1% cap. Scottish Government members are getting an average rise of 5.8%, with individual awards ranging from 4% (including 1% non-consolidated for those on the range maxima) to 12.7% (including progression).
Combined with the settlement date being brought forward to 1 April, it amounts to a significant improvement for the sector this year, and members have officially accepted the pay offer, with 96% voting in favour. Those members will now not be included in the national PCS ballot for strike action.
But however welcome the development seems, in contrast to UK government intransigence, the rise does not make up for the decline in real earnings over the last decade, said PCS Scottish secretary Lynn Henderson: “It will take much more than this to offset these pay losses.” But “steely determination” from members had paid off, with SNP ministers saying the offer was part of a journey, rather than an end point, she said.
Lynn said while there may be a thaw in Scotland, the freeze remains in Whitehall departments.
“It’s little wonder members are angry and now balloting for action. For members in Scotland voting in this ballot, the message is clear. If the Scottish government can break the cap and fully fund a decent pay rise, why can’t the UK government?
“We know of households in which one adult working for the Scottish government will receive 5% while their partner working for a UK department can expect nothing but the same old 1% pay cap. This is simply unacceptable.”