As the government is set to fast-track its spending review ahead of the Brexit deadline of 31 October we re-state our calls for investment in public services, an end to cuts and an end to office closures and pay restraint.
Chancellor Sajid Javid announced yesterday that he and the prime minister have asked for a 12-month spending round to be completed in September reportedly in a bid to free up departments to prepare for the UK's departure from the EU.
This will cover day-to-day department budgets for 2020/21, rather than a three-year period first mooted by the previous government.
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka sent our submission to the Cabinet Office last month setting out the 5 key areas of concern for our members, which are:
- Pay and terms and conditions
- Civil Service Compensation Scheme
- Staffing and locations
- Privatisation and outsourcing.
End pay restraint
On pay we want the government to put an end to over a decade of pay restraint in the civil service and related areas by funding pay rises that restore living standards, while keeping pace with inflation for the life cycle of the CSR.
We are seeking to persuade the government that a more coherent, joined-up strategy for civil service pay in the 21st century is both necessary and desirable. PCS has detailed policy and proposals in this area and we stand ready to table them for negotiation. Our proposals tackle the problem of unjustified pay disparities. We are also calling for the government to facilitate national collective bargaining on pay.
On pensions we are calling upon the government to implement the recommendations of the Civil Service Pension Scheme Advisory Board for an agreed package of improvements which would see our members’ monthly contributions reduce by at least 2%. We want the government to ensure that sufficient resources are available to all departments to enable them to cover the costs of remedying the cost cap breach, and to enable the eradication of any age discriminatory provisions within existing schemes.
On the Civil Service Compensation Scheme, we are calling upon the government to ensure that either:
- There are no detrimental changes to the current CSCS terms; or
- A guarantee of no compulsory redundancy for workers covered by the CSCS; or
- The government is able to agree the terms of the counter proposal submitted by the 4 unions, including PCS, who defeated the government in the High Court.
Reversal of job cuts and office closures
We are also calling upon the government to put a moratorium on any further office closures and job cuts across the civil service and its related areas pending negotiations with the unions on what a properly staffed service should look like. Investment is needed in revenue-raising departments to increase yield to improve the public finances. And we also argue for the establishment of a civil service presence in communities across the United Kingdom, guaranteeing job security for the workforce and provision of public services in all localities where they are needed.
For our final point we call upon the government to cease, and reverse, privatisation and outsourcing across the civil service and its related areas.
A full spending review is scheduled to take place next year.