21 January 2022

PCS in Welsh Government and Senedd Commission and the national ballot

We are balloting all PCS public sector members from 14 February to 21 March on our national campaign to raise pay, pensions and living standards.

Our union’s national executive committee has decided that it is time to say that rising inflation, April’s National Insurance rise and pensions robbery can no longer be accepted. It cannot be right that our members are struggling so bitterly, given everything that they have done to keep things afloat during the pandemic.

This is not a strike ballot. It will ask members what action they would be prepared to take. A statutory industrial action ballot might follow later.

PCS members in the Welsh Government received a higher pay award for 2021/22 than colleagues in Whitehall departments but only because Welsh ministers decided to use reserves to fund the increase, rather than rely on the inadequate funding received from Westminster. Even then, the award fell short of the union’s aspirations and there is no guarantee that a similar increase will be offered for 2022/23.

We are also seeking pay parity for our members across the Welsh devolved sector, which Welsh ministers are committed to deliver, and are in talks with employers via the sector’s partnership forum to push for progress on this.

PCS members in the Senedd Commission are still covered by a multi-year pay deal, which is due to end in 2025.

There are a number of other issues facing members in the Welsh Government and Senedd Commission, including:

  • The need for proper development to allow staff to progress up the scale.
  • A very high number of unfilled vacancies, exacerbated by many staff being diverted to Covid-related work, which has had serious implications for workloads in some areas.
  • Heavy reliance on staff working on the basis of a temporary promotion or temporary deputising allowance, often for several years, instead of being substantively promoted to the appropriate grade for the work they are doing.
  • The need for a cost-of-living allowance to cover extra costs - especially energy bills - as a result of the majority of staff are continuing to work from home.

In common with the majority across the union, members in the group have also been forced to overpay into their civil service pensions over the past couple of years and have ‘lost’ an average £1,000.

So far more than 23,000 PCS members have worked out how much they have lost by using our PCS pensions loss calculator. The average loss per month is around £53.

In preparation for the ballot, we need members to: