27 May 2021

PCS response to the DE&S & SDA PAY offer

The pay system is divisive, discriminatory and damaging; it is a 3D assault on your pay

DE&S and SDA management have issued a statement about your pay for 2021. PCS has taken part in the pay talks this year with the DE&S and SDA pay team, along with the other trade unions.  

We do not feel that there have been meaningful negotiations on pay and we are disappointed that the progress we made in 2019 and 2020 has not been reflected in this year's pay settlement.  

In those years there was a considerable effort to make the pay system fairer and reduce the influence of performance on the consolidated outcomes. Now we are right back to the bad old days of 2018. 

There has been an absolute return to the notion that performance related pay is the only show in town, when we all know that this is unfair. The pay system is divisive, discriminatory and damaging; it is a 3D assault on your pay.  

Performance-related pay divides staff and sets person against person. It has discriminatory outcomes for women; carers; black, Asian and minority ethnic staff; part time staff; younger and older workers and people with disabilities.  

People in these groups have been shown over the last 5 years to have outcomes significantly below the averages for DE&S and SDA staff, with a greater percentage of staff with protected characteristics in the bottom two performance categories than compared to the numbers working for DE&S and SDA. 

DE&S and SDA management have made it abundantly clear that they are completely wedded to this system on what we can only assume to be ideological grounds; presumably with an acceptance of the inherent unfairness that goes along with such pay systems. This, we believe, is not a good look for a government organisation. 

PCS rejects the notion that there should be a pay freeze for the public sector. There is money available, and it should be used to properly reward hard-working staff that have done their jobs all through the crisis. 

Instead, the government has allowed DE&S and SDA to offer a consolidated and pensionable increase of £250, but only for those earning less than £24,000 (with arrangements to protect those earning up to £24,249 from being overtaken). All other money is to be distributed as a non-consolidated and non-pensionable payment, but only to those with a box 3 or above performance rating. 

DE&S and SDA have made available £12.54 million and £3.15m respectively from their operating cost budgets to fund these ‘bonus’ payments. This equates to 2.8% of the DE&S pay bill and 3.2% of the SDA pay bill. The DE&S figure is significantly lower, as DE&S rebased their OGSM targets last year making them significantly ‘more challenging’ to achieve, with a resulting reduction in ‘bonus’ payments this year. 

Although those who receive a ‘bonus’ will welcome it, the reality is that this takes staff no closer to their pay benchmark and adds no value to their pension pot. And although both organisations have invested significant sums into pay this year, their salary levels (and particularly their band minima) will fall still further behind both the MOD and private sector competitors. 

PCS will be putting this offer to our group executive committee next week, with a recommendation to reject the offer out of hand.  With inflation rising (CPI 1.6%, RPI 2.9%) and household bills taking off, it does not meet our pay expectations and is still discriminatory, divisive and damaging to all. 

What you can do 

  • Keep your contact details up to date   

  • Look out for emails about the pay campaign and share them  

  • Attend pay meetings when they are called  

  • Invite your colleagues to join PCS and attend any open meetings   

We have been holding meetings on pay across the union and will do so to discuss these pay offers for affected branches. If you would like to take part in a meeting, contact dsg@pcs.org.uk