The government has totally failed to put money into the public services we depend on, failed to alleviate the public sector pay crisis and unleashed even more austerity, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka explained during our latest Facebook Live event on Monday evening.
Pay, the Civil Service Compensation Scheme, the DVSA dispute and the next steps in our national campaigns were among the subjects discussed during another popular Facebook event. The event has so far been viewed more than 11,000 times either during the live event or as a recording, and members sent in dozens of questions which our president Janice Godrich asked of Mark.
Our national executive is meeting this week and will be making some big decisions on our campaigns, including our pay campaign.
Mark began the event by praising our DVSA members who have been holding a 2-day strike this week over changes to their terms and conditions and the badly-designed new driving test.
Replying to a member’s question on pay, Mark reminded viewers of our union’s 3 demands ahead of last month’s budget:
- Scrap the 1% public sector pay cap for everyone
- Fully fund above inflation pay rises
- Invest in government departments and end austerity.
He said the government completely failed to meet out demands and it confirmed that “we’re going to have to campaign around pay in the next weeks and months.” But stressed that that if we move to an industrial ballot on pay in the new year he would be confident we will get large levels of political support and that a large majority of the public supports the scrapping of the 1% pay cap.
He said that our detailed independent analysis of the budget showed that the “big story” was that is really bad news for PCS members and their families.
“It brings very sharply into focus that the chancellor has totally failed to put money into the public sector, and the civil and public service that we depend on, in order to alleviate the pay crisis,” he said.
Underwhelming and disappointing
Mark reiterated his view that the 22 November budget was the most underwhelming and disappointing in recent memory.
“What the budget did confirm is that the on top of the cuts the government is making to departmental budgets, those parts that are used for employment costs, pay and pensions, we are seeing further swingeing cuts,” he said. “Austerity is continuing and it’s going to continue in quite a severe way.”
He gave 2 examples to illustrate his point. The budget confirmed that in the Department for Work and Pensions that over the next 3 years the departmental budget from which pay is derived will reduce by 15.29% and in HMRC those budget reductions will be 13.55%.
He said the analysis by independent think-tank, the Centre for Labour and Social Studies, showed that to deliver 1% pay rises in the DWP and HMRC the departmental budgets would need to be increased considerably.
“This tells us that, under the current budget reductions, that this budget has confirmed it means that departments cannot even give a 1% pay rise without further cuts in budgets that are already reducing significantly,” said Mark.
On the question of civil service redundancy pay he stressed 2 things:
- That the 2010 civil service compensation scheme terms will be applied until negotiations with the government on a new scheme are concluded
- That we will fight for the best deal for our members.
Other questions covered job cuts and office closures and the need to tackle tax evasion, as highlighted by the recent Paradise Papers leaks.