Unions unite in High Court over civil service pay

05 Oct 2018

PCS, Prospect and the FDA presented evidence yesterday (4) over the government’s handling of public sector pay awards.

PCS and its fellow civil service unions, FDA and Prospect, attended a High Court hearing yesterday for a judicial review of the government’s below-inflation pay remit guidance. The guidance, limiting pay awards to 1–1.5%, was issued in June without proper consultation, despite promises to the contrary.

In a joint statement, the three unions had said “We cannot accept the lack of meaningful consultation. We have agreed to continue working as closely as possible on these issues for the common good of our members. Whilst each union will clearly have to determine their own objectives and strategy for delivering them, we are committed to pursuing this matter together.”

The three unions were successful in bidding for a fast-tracked legal hearing, arguing that the outcome was “time critical” for this year’s pay negotiations. The case was heard in the High Court yesterday.

After a day of hearing evidence, Mrs Justice Simler reserved judgement and is likely to deliver her decision in the next few weeks after considering the evidence.

False promises

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said PCS’s members had “run out of patience with this government”.

“They have had enough of ministers making false promises of lifting the pay cap and having a meaningful consultation, only to be told the de-facto pay cap will remain.”

PCS members made their anger clear by voting in favour of strike action in the summer, but the number voting fell short of draconian trade union laws requiring a minimum 50% turnout.

History of success

Last year PCS won a judicial review over the government’s failure to consult the union on changes to the civil service compensation scheme (CSCS). The victory led to previous, more generous, terms being reinstated.

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