MP grills ministers over civil service pay

06 Jun 2018

PCS parliamentary group chair Chris Stephens has called on ministers to release figures on how many civil servants are in receipt of tax credits as the pay freeze continues to hurt our members.

Chris put the government on the spot during a Westminster Hall debate yesterday (5 June), demanding to know how many civil servants are in receipt of tax credits due to low pay.

Championing our campaign for a 5% pay rise this summer, Chris used the debate to pressure the government to negotiate properly with PCS and reward undervalued staff in government departments.

Pointing to the false economy of budgeting for 1% across government departments he said: “STUC (Scottish Trades Union Congress) research shows that 70p of every pound in the public sector ends up in the private sector economy. It would therefore follow that pay restraint in public sector not only harms public sector workers and their wages but harms the spending power to spend money in the private sector economy.

40% of civil servants in the DWP were in receipt of tax credits, 18months ago.”

He then called on ministers to release figures of how many civil servants were in receipt of tax credits across all departments due to low pay.

Chris went on to contrast civil servants who work for the Scottish government enjoying an above inflation pay rise with UK government workers in Scotland who are in line for only one percent.

He said: “The Scottish government has been flooded for applications from civil servants who are employed by UK government departments – they are leaving to get a better pay rise with the Scottish government.”

He then explained how it was “staggering” that there are 200 departments all with separate pay negotiations which had made progress on pay “slow.”

“It is frankly a nonsense,” he added.

Praising the PCS pay campaign, he warned the government it would lead to industrial action if a decent pay rise wasn’t put on the table.

He added: “In this the 150th year of the TUC there is still massive inequality around pay that needs to be addressed - pay rises should be funded and not come from cuts to jobs and services.”

Reacting to the debate, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Ministers can be in no doubt, paying our members a derisory one percent damages the economy, damages morale and PCS will not stand for it.

“Our members are determined to win a decent pay rise and will take industrial action on a mass scale if the government refuses to be reasonable.”

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