In November last year PCS members from all over the union voted in a national consultative ballot on pay. The national turnout in the ballot was 48.9%. Nationally members voted by a majority of 98.9% that the pay cap should be scrapped and in in favour of a 5% pay rise. Members also voted by a majority of 79.2% that they were prepared to take industrial action to fight for a 5% pay rise.
The turnout in the DWP in the national consultative ballot was 45.63%. It is disappointing that the turnout was below the national average. The DWP is the biggest group in the union and has traditionally been very well organised with high turnouts in ballots of all kinds.
The GEC believe that this low turnout was because of misunderstandings around the Employee Deal. The Employee Deal has got rid of the problem of no incremental pay progression that is still the big issue in most other groups by moving us to spot rates. The Employee Deal also means that many members in the DWP are getting pay increases above the 1% pay cap every year from 2016 to 2019. It is clear that because of this some DWP reps and members think they are not able to play a full part in the PCS national pay campaign. Nothing could be further from the truth. Scrapping the pay cap is very important to PCS members in the DWP:
- To get us all an increase above inflation. Inflation is now 3%, which means that even with the extra above the 1% cap in the Employee Deal plenty of DWP members will get a below inflation increase this year.
- To get a pay increase higher than the unacceptable 1.1% for the members on or near the max.
- To get a pay increase higher than 0.25% for staff who opted out.
- To get SEO and above members a pay rise above the 1% cap.
- To get a better increase for members in special pay zones
- To get an above inflation pay rise for staff not on DWP terms and conditions
- To get back the pay lost after 7 years of austerity.
The Employee Deal includes an annual review which can take into account inflation and deal with these problems. At the PCS group conference last year branches agreed a motion from the group executive committee (GEC) about the Employee Deal that said –
Despite the gains for members conference accepts that not all staff fared as well on pay as a result of the Employee Deal and that recent economic forecasts, the rise in inflation and the anticipated continuation of the Government Pay Cap, will continue to test our member’s finances. Conference instructs the incoming DWP GEC to:
• Continue to press DWP on the outstanding issues, seeking to increase the pay of those staff who opted out, currently set at 0.25%, and for those that work in Special Location Pay Zones.
• Break the link between pay and performance, maximising the distribution of money previously earmarked for performance pay in to consolidated pay.
• Seek agreement that staff who claim EWHA are not financially worse off after its withdrawal in July 2019.
• Engage with DWP to attempt to re-negotiate amounts paid to members in light of rises in inflation, especially for any members who would now receive below inflation increases.
Support the National Campaign
The GEC has continued to press the DWP about all of these issues over the past year. However, DWP say that because of the government pay cap there is no extra money for DWP pay above the extra already in the Employee Deal.
All DWP branches need to talk to members and explain that we can win better pay but only if we play our full part in the national campaign to scrap the pay cap so that we can win the improvements on the Employee Deal set out by the GEC and agreed by conference last year.
Every DWP member deserves a 5% pay rise. All DWP branches are asked to fully support the national campaign, the pay day protests and the big petition.