Share your pay cap experiences with PCS

19 Jan 2017

As we look to step up our campaign to break the civil service pay cap we want to hear how it has affected you.

In his first PCS blog post of the year our general secretary Mark Serwotka said that his first task of 2017 was to ensure we got to work on our pay campaign.

Mark highlighted the fact "no one is immune from six years of Tory attacks on living standards", but that our analysis shows civil service pay has lagged behind not just inflation, but average earnings in the rest of the public sector and the economy as a whole.

Successive governments have placed limits on civil service and public sector pay increases. Following the election of the coalition government in 2010, the Treasury put in place a two-year public sector pay freeze, followed by a 1% cap on pay increases.

No salary progression

Since 2007, Retail Price Index inflation has risen by 25.3%, average earnings by 17.8% and public sector average earnings by 19%. Median pay in the civil service has risen by only 13.7% over the same period. Meanwhile, Office for Budget Responsibility figures suggest that inflation (RPI) will rise by 18% between 2016 and 2021.

Civil Service pay increases have also been restricted through the removal of the withdrawal of salary progression through grades. The 2015 budget reported that all civil service contractual progression payments had been withdrawn by departments.

Government policy has also impacted on take home pay for civil servants by changing the contributions that they pay to their pension scheme and increasing National Insurance contributions placing huge strain on many people and their families.

These figures and your experiences of living under pay restraint mean we can strongly argue that civil servants deserve a pay rise above the 1% pay cap. We must step up our campaigning for joint union action on public sector pay.

Share your story

We would like to tell your stories on the effect of the year on year pay cap, for example:

  • What have you had to do to make ends meet?
  • If yours is a ‘just about managing family’, what does that mean in reality?
  • What would an inflation-busting pay rise mean for you?

To share your story as part of the union's pay campaign, please email

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