DWP has made an offer of a Voluntary Exit Scheme (VES) to all AAs in DWP. At the same time DWP is running a promotion exercise to AO for AA staff. Both exercises are entirely voluntary.
The offer of VES or promotion is a continuation of the strategy that DWP has adopted for some years now as a means of gradually reducing the numbers of AAs in the department. DWP continues to assert that there is a reducing need for AAs in DWP. There are around 400 AAs remaining in DWP.
DWP has confirmed with PCS that this VES exercise is not a prelude to moving to making AAs in DWP redundant. A VES exercise is not part of the redundancy process and the AAs being offered the VES are not at risk of redundancy, voluntary or compulsory.
Before DWP can make a member compulsorily redundant they would have to:
- Declare a group of members formally at risk of redundancy
- Have a period of formal redundancy consultation with the trade union
- Offer Voluntary Redundancy terms to the group of members at risk of redundancy. Voluntary Redundancy is not the same as VES
- Only if Voluntary Redundancy is refused by a member can DWP move to make them compulsorily redundant.
- Continue to seek to redeploy the group of members
As DWP has not done any of the first three bullet points above, nor indicated that they are about to do so, our AA members can know that there is no immediate threat to their job. If they want to continue to work for DWP as an AA they can refuse to apply for both the VES and the promotion without putting themselves at risk of redundancy.
PCS has successfully fought to avoid any AA members being made redundant in DWP and we will continue to do so. We dispute that AA work is coming to an end and believe that our AA members continue to play as important a role in DWP as members in any other grade.