The increase to the max does not just affect members on the max because, from next July, the vast majority of opted in staff will reach the max (the new spot rate) and all of them will then feel the impact of below inflation increases to the max.
It has now emerged that PCS members were betrayed on pay in 2018 by permanent secretaries from across the civil service who secretly agreed to limit pay increases to 1.5% (in DWP this directly affected members in the SEO to grade 6 grades). This was the shocking revelation from the court case taken by civil service unions in October this year.
Rather than argue with the Treasury that you should get more money for your hard work they actually argued you should have less – that is nothing short of a betrayal. Public sector pay increases have been capped at 1% for years and average DWP pay has fallen in value by more than £3,000, further and faster than just about anywhere else in the public sector.
Last year the government announced the end of the pay cap, and negotiators in local government and health sat down and agreed above-inflation pay increases. But in DWP many members received below inflation pay rises.
We cannot let this happen in 2019. PCS has agreed a campaign for 2019 pay that we in DWP must fully support. If necessary the intention is to hold a second statutory ballot across the civil service for industrial action on pay. We in DWP have a crucial role in ensuring we win the ballot and in ensuring that we reach the 50% threshold. With the employee deal pay rises ending in 2019 we must support the national pay campaign to ensure we get the pay rise we deserve.
Remember the ballot we held in 2018 was only lost because less than 50% of members actually voted. Anti-trade union law now says that for a ballot to be lawful, at least 50% of those being balloted must vote in the ballot, whether they vote yes or no. Strike ballots also have to be postal ballots, so we must all make sure that we vote and also that we post the ballot paper back. Many members told us that they did not receive a ballot paper because PCS did not hold their new address. You can check on the PCS website what your ballot address is, and change it if necessary, to make sure you get a ballot paper.
We want every member in DWP to get involved in the national pay campaign. The most important way to get involved is to make sure you vote and post your ballot paper if there is a second ballot on pay. But you can also ask your colleagues to get involved by becoming a PCS Advocate, or become one yourself. You can also ask any colleagues who aren’t members to join PCS and, when the ballot starts, remind your fellow PCS members to make sure they vote and post their ballot paper. Let’s prepare to win on pay to get the pay rise we deserve.