Between 2014 and 2019 several hundred local authority (LA) staff were transferred into DWP. This transfer was done under the auspices of the Cabinet Office Statement of Practice (COSOP) that allows for staff in the public sector to be transferred from one public sector employer to another. COSOP prescribes that such transfers follow the principles of TUPE that protect the contractual terms and conditions of the staff being transferred.
Each local authority had different terms and conditions which meant that the transferring members were on varying rates of pay. At the time of transfer each individual was placed into a DWP grade.
The varying rates of pay that transferred with them meant that some were below the Min of the DWP grade they were assigned to, some were between the Min and the Max and some were above the Max.
Paragraph19.17 of Appendix 1 of the 2016 Employee Deal contained the pay awards for all DWP staff not on DWP terms and conditions, including the ex-LA members. This covered all the years of the Employee Deal 2016 to 2019. The key provisions of this were:
Staff have the opportunity to move onto DWP terms and conditions. Anyone who did so after August 2016 would move on the Employee Deal terms and conditions and would not be able to opt out.
Staff who chose to remain on their ex-LA terms and conditions
- if they had contractual pay progression this would continue to apply until they reached the Max of their ex-LA pay scale.
- Staff who did not have contractual pay progression would receive an annual increase of 1% until they reached the Max of their ex-LA pay scale.
- Staff who were on the Max of their ex-LA pay scale would receive no consolidated pay increase, even if they were below the Max of their DWP grade.
- Staff who have a COSOP-protected entitlement to a performance related non-consolidated payment will continue to receive this
- Staff who do not have a COSOP-protected entitlement to a performance related non-consolidated payment will receive the relevant DWP non-consolidated pay awards for their grades as long as they received an Exceeded or Achieved box marking. In other words they would receive the same non-consolidated increase as any other DWP member of staff
A significant number of the ex-LA members are on the Max of their ex-LA pay scale. This has meant that many of them, have received no consolidated pay increase under the Employee Deal and look as though they will not until such time as the DWP Max catches them up.
In both 2016 and 2017 pay negotiations PCS pressed DWP hard to pay these members something more than just the non-consolidated performance related payments. The members could see from their ex-colleagues that they would have received a consolidated pay increase if they were still employed by their local authority and rightly believed that DWP should do the same.
However DWP has consistently refused to do so. DWP have argued that if these members want a pay increase they should agree to move onto DWP terms and conditions and thus receive the Employee Deal pay increases. However this is of little use to members who are already paid above the DWP Max for their grade.
Unfortunately the TUPE/COSOP rules mean that, while pay is protected at the point of transfer, it does not cover future local authority pay awards made after the date of transfer. Instead DWP has to make annual pay awards. But for many of these staff the DWP award in 2016 and 2017 amounted to a 0% consolidated award, with the only actual payment being the non-consolidated payment to staff with a Box 1or box 2 marking.
DWP also maintained in the 2017 pay review that the Treasury had forbidden the department from paying any additional consolidated pay increases to AA to HEO grades above those already agreed in the Employee Deal.
National pay campaign crucial
This shows that it is essential that the PCS’ national pay campaign succeeds in breaking the Treasury’s policy of pay restraint in the civil service, if we are to secure the pay rise for our ex-LA members that they deserve. Only by achieving that will DWP have the flexibility to pay these members more.
PCS has repeatedly made it clear to DWP that securing a pay rise for members not on DWP terms and conditions, including the ex-LA members, is a top priority in the 2018 pay negotiations. PCS will therefore continue to press DWP to make these members a decent pay award in 2018 when we enter this year’s pay negotiations.
But our success there will depend greatly on the success of the national PCS pay campaign. It is essential that ex-LA staff understand that they are very much part of the national pay campaign and they have much to gain from that campaign proving successful.