Sacrifice your terms and conditions if you want more than a 1% pay increase, is the stark message the government has sent to PCS members through the Treasury pay remit guidance published today.
The guidance, which provides a framework for all civil service departments to set pay for 2019 to 2020, says departmental heads can give pay awards of up to 2% – still below the current 2.1% inflation rate – for the coming year but outlines that the government is only funding 1% with the additional 1% funded by departments that are able to find it. Awards above 2% can only be obtained through business cases.
The guidance says that employers will be allowed to use ‘recyclables’ in addition to the funded headline percentage remit figure of 1%. However, their definition of recyclables applies only to the difference in pay rates between leavers and joiners. Funding for vacant posts is not included. Recyclables can only be used up to the 2% cap. If employers wish to go beyond this, they are required to submit a business case to the Cabinet Office and the Treasury.
The guidance says business cases that can be made are:
- To address recruitment and retention issues
- For transformational workforce reform
- For transfer of funds from non-consolidated pay pot to consolidated pay.
The latest announcement means that the value of civil servants’ pay will have fallen for over a decade. Back in 2010, the government put in place a two-year public sector pay freeze. They then implemented a “pay cap”, set at 1%.
Last year the government announced it was ending the public sector pay cap and gave NHS and local government workers increases above 1%, but the pay remit was a meagre 1.1.5% for the civil service.
Prepare for all eventualities
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “What this means is the best that’s going to be on offer is below the rate of inflation and in many cases people will be asked to give things up in order to get it.
“We will now be entering into pay talks with departmental managers, but have to prepare for all eventualities. That means building the union, getting more people involved, getting more people to join, is essential so whatever the government has in store for us we are able to respond in the applicable way. I hope these talks can get us a just outcome but at the moment you have to say that’s a big ask.”
Watch and share the latest pay campaign video
Readiness for a further ballot
We have repeatedly made the point that the massive vote for action on pay in our national ballot shows the strength of feeling among members.
Our national executive committee has agreed, in a motion supported by PCS conference last month, that we must continue to build our organisation in readiness for a further national ballot, which may be required at some point in the year ahead.