15 November 2021

Take pride in what we have achieved in 2021

Fran says it will be a challenging winter, but we should be proud of all we have done so far in 2021

The government’s spending review in October was billed as a turn in fortune for public sector pay. For days leading up to the big announcement in parliament, chancellor Rishi Sunak and his acolytes filled the airwaves with talk of an end to the pay freeze. Yet when the moment came, it was a damp squib. The chancellor waffled on about public sector pay needing to be “fair and affordable”.

PCS members in the civil service know all too well that any ending of the pay freeze must be accompanied by extra money from the Treasury and, crucially, be above the rate of inflation.

With inflation running at 3.1% and some forecasts putting it at 5% by early 2022, it’s just empty rhetoric to say the pay freeze has ended.

We’re now assessing our options and we would urge you to join the national campaign, which our general secretary talks about in his column

Home working

You may remember a flurry of senior cabinet ministers anonymously briefing the papers this summer on how we needed to rush people back to the office? There was also talk of those in London who refused to go having their London weighting cut.

All this despite the fact the Tories have made manifesto commitments to flexible working and are legislating on the issue.

Fast forward a few months, Covid cases are rising and there are hundreds of tragic deaths each day. PCS has been vindicated by its approach.

We do have members who cannot work from home and are in their workplaces. However, the vast majority are   working well from home and have delivered key services throughout the pandemic.

Industrial disputes

It’s been a busy summer on the industrial front with our DVLA members holding firm and, at the time of publication, being re-balloted over Covid safety.

Cleaners at Royal Parks have organised strikes, lobbies and demonstrations in their battle over pay and conditions with contractor Just Ask Estate Services.

And planned strike action at the DVSA was suspended after reaching a potential deal. This was off the back of an incredible 92% yes vote on an 80% turnout in their strike ballot.

It will be a challenging winter, but we should be proud of all we have done so far in 2021.