Following yesterday's (7 June) announcement by DWP that they will not be implementing the 2018 pay award in July’s salaries, PCS members have reacted with very real and understandable anger.
PCS has already raised our concerns with the department and made clear the union does not accept there is any justification for this delay, especially for those payments already enshrined by the Employee Deal Collective Agreement.
Members have rightly pointed out that one of the key “selling points” of ED was the assurance, from the then Permanent Secretary, Robert Devereux, of pay increases being made on time with it being a four year deal and not, therefore, subject to the usual constraints of the Treasury pay remit.
While PCS accepts that members in the grades SEO and above are covered by separate arrangements that are still subject to the Treasury remit being cleared, we do not accept that payments due under ED should be delayed, and expect the department to find an urgent solution to the problem they have created. The intranet message issued by DWP yesterday does not change the reality that the ED money has already been agreed and should not be the subject of Treasury clearance as we received it back in 2016.
PCS has written to DWP today, demanding an urgent meeting, but in the meantime we believe this episode highlights, more than ever, the need for members to fully support the national pay campaign and attend any meetings organised by branches in the coming days and weeks.
The link to Working Patterns
It is understandable that many members have asked the question on how the announcement on pay impacts on the working pattern element of the collective agreement. Many more have made clear their strongly held view that “if DWP aren't prepared to stick to the pay side of the agreement then why should we stick to the tent poles“.
The GEC understands this response and why members feel so badly let down by their employer, but we advise caution on how branches and our members respond.
Currently, DWP have not failed to implement the pay awards they promised under Employee Deal. The increases due in 2017 were paid on time, from the end of July last year, and continue to be paid monthly in members’ salaries for the 2017/18 pay year. The working patterns you are currently working, as notified in February, remain in that pay year and you should continue working them.
PCS is aware that many members will have started to receive their proposed working patterns for Rotation 4 and further advice will be issued well in advance of the next rotation starting. If the delay in implementing the 2018 pay award element continues then PCS will obviously challenge this with everything at our disposal as well as advising members of any impact it may have on the collective agreement and working patterns. It is currently premature though to envisage this situation continuing and obviously members will be entitled to receive backdated payments for any delay that does occur.
PCS will continue to support members and branches in ensuring the terms of the collective agreement are honoured and adhered to. PCS will challenge any, and all, breaches of the collective agreement when they occur and will not allow the important gains made in these negotiations to be watered down or reneged upon.
This is an important period for our members in DWP and right across the union. The need for decent, across the board pay increases has never been greater, and we must all get fully behind the national campaign to achieve these aims and increase the pressure on the government and our employer to address low pay for all.
Support the campaign - we all deserve a pay rise.