The government must significantly change its latest proposals to slash civil service redundancy pay to meet its legal obligations says PCS and the 3 other unions who defeated the government over attacks on the Civil Service Compensation Scheme.
The unions, PCS, GMB, Unite and the POA, have jointly pledged to defend their members' rights and reject unacceptable changes to civil service redundancy pay. Between now and February they are to hold talks with the Cabinet Office on a new scheme.
The government is keen to negotiate a new scheme in a further attempt to make it cheaper to sack staff. It has now launched a consultation containing proposals that are worse than the terms imposed in 2016 and subsequently defeated in the High Court. Following the judgement the minister has a legal obligation to consult the unions on any changes to the CSCS with a view to reaching agreement. By a 96% majority, PCS members rejected the 2016 changes as unacceptable. Members of the POA also rejected those changes in a ballot and the other 2 unions also joined them in refusing to sign up to the cuts as a precondition of talks.
The 4 unions have now written to the Cabinet Office to set out their terms for the talks which oppose the government attempts to introduce worse terms than those imposed by Francis Maude in 2010.
No evidence on savings
The government says changing the scheme is necessary as it wants to produce savings of around one third on current costs as part of its austerity agenda and ministers’ desire to reduce the UK’s budget deficit. No evidence has been produced by the government to support these claims and we challenge their veracity.
In relation to the deficit, it is a fact that there has been an enormous change in the political environment since the 2016 consultation on the CSCS. Deficit reduction is no longer a priority for the government and 7 years of austerity, the alleged solution to the deficit, has failed to deal with it. We will subject the government’s claims on costings to rigorous scrutiny during the course of the consultation.
We are prepared to engage in consultation with a view to reaching agreement on a new CSCS. We will approach that consultation in good faith, with an open mind and with a willingness to consider any proposals that the minister might wish to make. We urge the minister to do the same.