Civil service pay: PCS member James shares his story

17 Mar 2017

In the run-up to PCS payday protests on 31 March, have been sharing their experiences of how the pay cap/freeze has affected them.

PCS members have been suffering increasing hardship as a result of the pay freeze and cap. 

Between 2010 and 2016 the value of our earnings has fallen further than the value of pay in the rest of the public sector, and in the economy as a whole. Average earnings in the civil service and related areas fell 8-9% between 2010 and 2016 by comparison with Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation.

In cash terms, this means a drop of £2,077 in our average pay against CPI inflation, and £3,639 against the Retail Price index (RPI) – the more realistic measure of inflation which includes mortgage interest payments.

James from HM Courts Service shared his story (Names have been changed to protect our members’ anonymity): 

“I've worked here for nearly 20 years. I haven't had a real pay rise for over 8 years. Things are becoming increasing difficult for myself and my daughter.

“The year before last I split from my long-term partner and had to move out of our family home. With the maintenance payments and paying for my car (which I need to pick up my daughter), I couldn’t afford to rent a place of my own. Instead I had to rent a room at my ex brother-in-law's house. The house isn’t big enough for me to give my young daughter her own room or even a separate bed to sleep in.

“I can just about make ends meet living here and have a little cash left for days out with my daughter, but only because I work overtime whenever it is available, nearly every Saturday. I can't live where I am forever and if I am forced to move out before we get a decent pay rise I will have no choice but to move back in with my parents who live a long way away. This would mean I would have to give up my career and would have to leave my daughter behind as she lives with her mother. I would hardly ever get to see her. I feel so low about my current situation and feel like a failure not being able to provide my daughter with her own bed to sleep in. Sometimes I can barely muster the motivation to drag myself out of bed. I suffer with anxiety as I have no stability and have lost my independence.

“A decent pay rise would mean I could regain my independence by getting my own home, this would give me stability and would change my life.”

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Payday protests

PCS is asking members to get involved in a major, nationwide day of pay protests on the last payday in March.

Members around the country will hold short, high-profile events at their workplaces and we will be publicising these on social media and the PCS website.

The payday protests, which are happening ahead of the publication of the Treasury’s pay guidance for 2017, are your chance to drive home our message that our pay has been eroded for far too long and it’s time to drop the 1% cap and negotiate increases in our pay.

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