ONS Pay offer 1 August 2020 - 31 July 2021
ONS issued their final pay offer on 5 May 2021, covering the period 1 August 2020–31 July 2021. Disappointingly, the final offer goes nowhere towards addressing the elements of the PCS pay claim of 23 June 2020, which was:
- Pay increase for all workers in the civil service and its related bodies of 10% with a minimum underpin of £2,400.
- Equal Pay - commitment to address pay gaps for all protected characteristics within the pay award 2020/21.
- Continued use of contractors and consultants and related financial implication - continue negotiations (during 2020-21) to review the position with a view to creating “in house” employment opportunities.
- Non-Consolidated Performance Related Pay - seek a commitment to remove performance related pay and commute the relative funding to the pay pot.
- Spot rates target zone – seeking to introduce a spot rate for the entry and target zones for the grades E0-G6, to be set at the maximum for each grade.
- Enhanced zone. We consider that the Enhanced zone continues to be divisive and wish to review its ongoing efficacy.
- Reduction in the working week to 4 days with no loss of pay.
- No compulsory redundancy – we are seeking a no compulsory redundancy agreement for the life of the pay agreement.
In summary ONS are offering;
- Pay increase of up to 2% across the board – however you will see from the attached offer that for those on the maxima this is actually 1.5% consolidated and a 0.5% non-consolidated top up.
- Equal Pay – there is no commitment to work with TUS to address any discrepancy across all protected characteristics.
- Contractors and consultants – this is the only area where a commitment to continue negotiations has been made.
- Non-consolidated performance pay – ONS are utilising a small proportion of their reward and recognition budget to fund the element of non-consolidated pay in this offer. This remains divisive.
- Spot rate target zone – there is insufficient funding in the pot to address this
- Enhanced zone – this is being removed but in reality only 2-3 members of staff were actually in this zone.
- Reduction in the working week – dismissed outright.
- No compulsory redundancy - disappointing that there is no commitment here and also worrying as ONS are going through further transformation and a BASE review.
The PCS group executive committee considers that while a proportion of our members in the lower ranges would benefit from a higher than 2% award the overall offer is divisive, derogatory and disappointing, fuelling divisions that are being sown in the BASE review between staff in enabling functions and those considered “specialist”. ONS management submitted a business case for additional funding to address anomalies in the pay structure, however this was delayed to such an extent that the 2021 spending review had been published and, we believe, as a direct consequence the business case was dismissed by the Cabinet Office.
PCS, along with our sister unions Prospect and FDA have argued that there is insufficient funding within this year’s pay pot to address all the anomalies in the current structure and that ONS should submit a further business case to the Cabinet Office to address the shortcomings during 2021/22. Members should not suffer personal detriment to allow ONS to “adjust” the current structure. We have argued that the current structure needs total revalorisation and not a piecemeal approach. ONS have refused to consider this. ONS is now trying to achieve structural changes that were based on the original business case being successful, therefore trying to spread the final, much reduced funding too thinly and unevenly. Given the paltry final funding settlement, PCS wants to maximise consolidated (i.e. pensionable, and with the new rate locked into future pay) awards for every member.
What we have on the table is an offer which, with the enhancement to “specialist” pay, is likely to create a two tier workforce, leaving many members feeling undervalued and unappreciated by management and potentially seen as of lower status in the eyes of colleagues. All our members in ONS deserve a higher reward.
Taking all of this into consideration the group executive committee urges you to reject the pay offer and vote NO in the pay ballot that will run noon 24 May 2021–noon 11 June 2021. An email containing a link to the ballot will be issued to members in due course.