PCS demands formal talks on pay

08 Mar 2018

PCS is calling on branches to prepare for a statutory ballot on pay to put pressure on a government that has so far failed to enter into formal talks to fund above-inflation pay rises across the civil service.

Meeting on Tuesday (6 March) our national executive agreed to write to Cabinet Office minister David Lidington to demand immediate talks on our national pay claim for a fully-funded 5% or £1,200, whichever is the greater.

Research published this week, commissioned by our union from the Class think-tank shows how the government’s claim to have ended the pay cap rings hollow in the civil service and related areas. The analysis shows that not only has the government not sought to fund pay increases above the 1% pay cap, in some of the major departments the resource departmental expenditure limits show significant shortfalls in resources to even meet the 1% pay cap. Cuts in jobs or other expenditure would be expected. Our senior reps are telling us that the employer is already looking in individual departments to sacrifice our members’ hours, terms and conditions in return for a deal on pay.

That there have been no negotiations on pay in the civil service, and the government has made no provision for an increase above 1% for its own workforce, is absolutely unacceptable when other parts of the public sector have received offers and/or are in formal talks over pay.

At a meeting with parliamentary secretary at the Cabinet Office, Oliver Dowden, on 27 February where we pointed out that we had received no formal response to our claim. We made it clear that we had a mandate from the overwhelming result of our consultative ballot upon which we would act if there was no progress in sight. We have had no response from the minister to date.

Political campaigning

We are continuing our political work to make our case on pay.  We held a successful parliamentary rally on Tuesday night themed “All public sector workers deserve a pay rise”Speakers included PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, shadow chancellor John McDonnell MP, director of Class Faiza Shaheen, Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail, and NEU president Louise Regan.

Mark highlighted at the packed meeting the range of occupations covered by our union keeping this country going.

He said: "A 20% pay cut since 2010 has hammered our members purses and wallets. We need to take our campaign to the next level now to force the government to act.

“We should say to the government - it's not 200,000 PCS members you have a dispute with, its 2 million public sector workers as we all deserve a pay rise.”

The spring budget statement on Tuesday (13 March) will be a focus for activity around public sector pay. We have organised a Facebook Live event to respond to it and in a major coup for PCS, John McDonnell will be taking part and answering members’ questions.

The TUC major demonstration on Saturday, 12 May theme is “a new deal for working people”.  We are mobilising nationally for it and urging our members and supporters from across the UK to join us and thousands of others from across the union movement as we march to call for a fully-funded 5% pay rise for all civil servants.

Getting ballot ready

It is clear from the lack of response to our national pay claim that we need now to increase the pressure on the employer on pay and speed up our work to get ready for a statutory national ballot on industrial action if the government does not make a positive response to our claim. Branches are working hard to be prepare for a possible ballot.

Our NEC is meeting towards the end of the month to consider the timing of any necessary statutory ballot. 

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