PCS met Cabinet Office officials just before Easter over our national pay claim for the UK civil service and related areas.
We submitted the pay claim for a fully-funded 5% or £1,200 pay rise, a Living Wage of £10 an hour, pay equality across the civil service and a common pay and grading structure and demanded that the Cabinet Office meet us.
At the meeting PCS presented our case for the claim and emphasised the mandate from PCS members who had voted overwhelmingly in last year’s consultative ballot to support the claim, including supporting industrial action if it was not met.
We argued that employers in other parts of the public sector had made representations to the government for funding for pay rises and that the civil service should not be an exception. It was time the Cabinet Office stood up for civil servants.
Fundamental political change
We said that the political situation had changed fundamentally since spending limits were last made – additional funding for civil service pay was essential and we could not accept pay rises paid for by job cuts. We also made it clear that another year of pay determination in individual departments was not acceptable and central negotiations that treated everyone fairly must take place.
The Cabinet Office agreed that they would consider our arguments made at the meeting and respond in writing. We insisted that was done by 20 April because progress was urgent and we emphasised that a statutory ballot for industrial action would be actively considered if progress was not made.
The PCS national executive committee will discuss the Cabinet Office response at its meeting on 24–26 April.
Our annual delegate conference in Brighton in May will take further decisions on the pay campaign.
Get ballot ready
While the meeting with the Cabinet Office is a welcome development, there have been no indications the government’s position on pay is significantly changing. The union may need to call a statutory ballot on industrial action to force the government to engage with us meaningfully on a funded pay rise. We need to maintain our organising efforts to bring the union up to ballot readiness.
Members can keep up the pressure on the government by encouraging friends and colleagues at work to take part in PCS pay activities and protest events in the coming weeks and months. 30 April is our Big Pay Petition Day when members will sign large petitions, which can then be used in photo opportunities with the maximum numbers of members taking part.
The TUC’s march in London on 12 May is to call for a fully-funded, above inflation pay rise for all civil and public servants.
The vast majority of our members, and colleagues from across the public sector, have suffered considerable hardship because of years of pay restraint leaving them on average £4,400 worse off in real terms. Find out how much you’ve lost, and share your result with Cabinet Office minister David Lidington, by using the PCS pay calculator.