People survey shows widespread dissatisfaction with civil service pay

21 Dec 2018

Civil servants have sent a strong message to departmental permanent secretaries to act decisively on pay with 69% of respondents to the annual civil service people survey saying they are dissatisfied with their pay and conditions.

The results, published this week, highlight the need for all PCS members to support the union’s 2019 pay campaign and engage in the consultation on the campaign with widespread dissatisfaction about pay and benefits. Many departments showed staff satisfaction with pay typically below 30%, and particularly low satisfaction at the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board with just 12% and an almost equally lowly 14% at the HM Courts and Tribunals Service, where management tried to unsuccessfully to persuade our members to cash in their terms and conditions in return for above inflation pay rises for some staff. Staff at HMRC were also particularly dissatisfied about their pay with only 21% of respondents feeling their pay adequately reflected their performance.

Permanent secretaries and the Cabinet Office betrayed their staff on pay by secretly agreeing to limit pay increases. Disgracefully they argued our members should get less money for their hard work. This was the shocking revelation from the court case taken by PCS and other civil service unions in October this year.

Poor by comparison

The overall polling was even worse on the question of whether staff felt their pay was reasonable in comparison with people doing a similar job in other organisations, with just 27% of respondents agreeing. This was particularly low at HMRC with just 19% feeling their pay was reasonable in comparison with people doing a similar job. This reflects the fact that while the 1% pay cap has been lifted in other areas of the public sector it effectively remains in place across the civil service.

PCS pay strategy

The PCS national executive committee has agreed a campaign strategy for our 2019 pay campaign, which includes:

  • Launching a mass consultation on our pay campaign
  • Campaigning politically to put the pressure on ministers and departmental heads.
  • Holding an industrial action ballot, if it's required, to ensure we can force the government to think again and negotiate a fair, equal and above-inflation pay increase across the civil service.

Also, jointly with the other main civil service unions, FDA and Prospect, we are writing to the government to demand they meet us and treat us fairly in 2019. 

Bullying and discrimination

The revelations last month about hundreds of civil servants working in Whitehall making complaints about suffering sexual harassment or bullying at the hands of colleagues are reflected in the wider civil service with 11% of respondents saying they had personally experienced bullying or harassment at work in the past 12 months. 12% of respondents said they had personally experienced discrimination at work in the past 12 months. The results were the worst at the Scottish Prison Service (25%), and at Border Force (21%) and the Office of the Public Guardian (21%).

If you want to help improve conditions where you work and help tackle bullying and discrimination join PCS and get active in our union.

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