Sedwill and Manzoni should value staff by paying them what they’re worth

02 Apr 2019

We value you but not enough to give you a decent pay rise is the message on repeat from senior civil servants using hollow words to express admiration for staff with ever increasing workloads as they prepare the UK for Brexit.

A letter sent to civil servants yesterday  from head of the civil service Mark Sedwill and civil service CEO John Manzoni “puts on record our own appreciation for what you do”.

In the letter they say they speak on behalf of the group of senior permanent secretaries who make up the Civil Service Board and praise their staff for rising every day to “an almost unprecedented set of challenges”. But for our members currently being balloted for action over pay this has so far not extended to giving them a decent pay increase. These are the same permanent secretaries who betrayed staff on pay last year and have told them that if they want more than 1% this year they will have to sacrifice their hard-won terms and conditions. HMRC CEO Jon Thompson was the latest to say this just last week.

The two senior civil servants say they have “have received messages of thanks and admiration from all sides of the EU Exit debate for the commitment and professionalism of civil servants” and praised the “perseverance, dedication and skill of civil servants and colleagues in the wider public sector to implement government policy”. They also commended staff for maintaining “high standards that the public would expect” and “dedicating themselves…to maintaining the public services that our fellow citizens rely on.” And yet when it comes to pay standards across the civil service could hardly be lower as since 2010 the average civil servant, on a salary of £26,000, is now worse off by a massive £2,110 a year. And pay has fallen in value by comparison with local government, health and education, by a shocking 11.4%.

A 10% pay increase, demanded in the PCS pay claim, would restore the value of civil service pay not just with inflation, but with other public sector workers in local government, health and education.

Hollow words beggar belief

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This letter beggars belief because while praise and recognition are welcome such hollow words don’t pay the bills for the vast majority of hard-working civil servants who have seen the value of their pay fall through the floor over the past decade.

 “I urge all eligible PCS members to vote yes in our pay ballot, to force senior civil servants and the government to go back to the Treasury and get the necessary funds to give our members the pay rise their hard work and dedication deserves.”

Need a ballot paper?

The deadline for requesting a replacement ballot paper is 5pm on Thursday, 18 April but the sooner you request it the better. You can do this by using our simple web form.

To be sure that your ballot paper arrives on time and your vote will be counted you should have it in the post no later than Wednesday, 24 April.

Not yet a member?

Only PCS members can vote, but it’s not too late to join. It’s quick and easy to register to join online The new member applications deadline is 5pm on Friday, 12 April.


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