Tory plans to re-hash discredited proposals to introduce performance-related and regional pay across the public sector have been condemned by PCS.
Chancellor Philip Hammond who delivers his budget on Monday (29), has reportedly told ministers public sector-wide pay rises could be replaced with performance-related increases in a bid to introduce a more “targeted” approach to pay.
This is despite the fact that our members have suffered relentless attacks on jobs, pensions, terms and conditions and pay for almost a decade with the average PCS member’s salary falling by more than £3,400 since 2010. Although the 1% pay cap was lifted for most of the public sector earlier in 2018 it has effectively remained in place for the civil service with pay remit guidance from ministers imposed at 1-1.5% for all government departments. This decision was reached without proper consultation with civil service unions and following this announcement, FDA, Prospect and PCS jointly sought a judicial review which is ongoing in the courts.
Chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss reportedly told the cabinet pay rises should be determined by retention, performance and productivity. An overhauled system could also entail greater regional variation in pay rises. Truss said those working in London and the South East should receive greater increases because pay in other regions is already more “competitive” with private sector levels.
She stressed that independent pay review bodies’ recommendations on pay were not binding, responding to ministers who have used these recommendations to argue for more funds.
The government has seemingly gone full circle on public sector pay, as former chancellor George Osborne first dredged up the idea of regional pay in the public sector in his autumn statement in 2011 and despite former Cabinet Office minister being a major cheerleader for the plan it was ultimately rejected.
With the civil service already at breaking point due to underfunding, increased workloads and poor retention rates, it is fair and sensible that a decent wage rise and additional departmental funding is awarded to ensure the services that millions of people across the UK rely on continue to function.
Reacting to the possibility of regionalised pay for public sector workers, PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “If these reports are true then it is yet another attempt to drive down wages and an insult to public sector workers.
“With the government already in court accused of failing to properly consult unions on the pay remit guidance, it shows that ministers have no respect for staff working in government departments.
“We are planning to ballot our members in the spring if the government doesn’t offer us a decent pay rise.”
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