17 March 2022

Group secretary

Pay is too low, unions must be listened to, we have the membership and credibility to make changes.

We are entering a third year with Covid-19 casting a shadow over the future. After the success of our initial intervention with defence to keep members safe, the accrued benefits from that work haven’t fruited. Sadly, after so much cooperative work, the department has reverted to business as usual, with the trade unions not commanding the respect and influence their experience and membership affords them.

A great turnout in the national consultative ballot is essential to send a message to the employer, pay is too low, unions must be listened to, we have the membership and credibility to make changes. The ballot paper is on your personal/home email. Vote and tell us you have voted.

Wide variations
Business units experienced wide variations in their treatment relating to restrictions on workers since July 2020, allowing damaging local procedures to percolate through defence with little acknowledgement or control from main building; one of the worst offenders. We have been clear that the safest way for workplaces to operate was to have the minimum numbers of staff present, which is an affront to the status of many in defence who have no purpose without a cohort of underlings to watch over.

Against this background MOD has slipped out the news that there will be between 10 and 12.5% cuts to top level budgetary areas’ civilian staff costs because of the integrated review. The details have still not been shared fully with the unions, not inspiring confidence in the entire process.

Meanwhile, the department has been working on a review of employee relations, based initially around lessons learned from the joint working during the pandemic. We remain to be convinced that the outcome will deliver an improved background to deal with the challenges ahead.