Members react angrily to government’s real-terms pay cut

19 May 2020

PCS members have taken to social media to express their anger and disappointment after it was announced their hard work keeping the country running during the coronavirus crisis would be “rewarded” by pay awards of 1.5% to 2.5%.

We made interim demands during the coronavirus pandemic to significantly raise pay above inflation and across the board. 

But despite PCS members, many of them being key workers going above and beyond the call of duty, in DWP, HMRC, the Home Office and elsewhere, ministers have decided to cap any pay rise at between 1.5 and 2.5%. RPI inflation is currently running at 2.6%.

Palpable anger

There was palpable anger from the hundreds of members who commented on our Facebook page and on Twitter.

One person who commented described the announcement as a “slap in the face of all those who work within the civil service during this pandemic”.

Another said he’d never been as angry in a career spanning over 30 years.

“Risking our lives every day as key workers. For what? In effect for a pay cut. What a kick in the teeth. Think I'll apply for a job in Tesco.”

One commenter said the government was “using the cost of the pandemic as their reasoning” for yet another below-inflation rise after a decade of frozen or capped pay across the civil service and related areas.

For another it was the final straw: “Civil servants are highly skilled and should be treated and paid as such. Government has shown how little we mean, so I'll be leaving and will work elsewhere after 25 years,10 years of which have been appalling pay.”

Many of the people posting said they supported action on pay. This was borne out in our latest survey, with 85% of the more than 14,000 members who replied saying they strongly supported our national pay claim and 72% strongly agreed that we should step up our campaign to support that claim.

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