Update on yesterday's budget announcement

Scottish Public Sector Pay policy 2019/20

The STUC Budget Day rally on 12 December outside the Scottish Parliament was well attended by several PCS branches from across the Scottish Sector, ahead of the Cabinet Secretary making his budget announcement.

The public sector pay policy for 2019/20 was announced and published yesterday and we met with senior civil servants in finance to get a technical briefing on the detail of the budget. A copy of the documents can be accessed online.

We have made clear to SG officials that we are extremely disappointed that the pay policy is more or less the same as last year, with the exception of the underpin for the lower paid. The underpin was a feature PCS argued strongly for in meetings with the Cabinet Secretary so this at least is a welcome development.

The Cabinet Secretary in the Foreword to last year’s policy acknowledged that pay restoration was part of a ‘pay journey’ and an “important direction of travel” towards restoring ten years of lost pay. This understanding was also repeated at three meetings with the Cabinet Secretary and the First Minister over the course of this year.

As you will see from the Foreword in the pay policy for next year the Cabinet Secretary is putting this off and has now reneged on the commitment he gave us last year. This is completely unacceptable from our point of view. We are seeking an urgent meeting with the Cabinet Secretary Derek Mackay. I have also attached a copy of the press release that we issues yesterday which highlights our complete dissatisfaction with the situation.

The rate of inflation (RPI measure) is now above 3% so the pay policy for next year does not meet inflation nor does it deal with the important issue of restoration.

At the Scottish Sector pay forum this year and the AGM which was held earlier this week branches were clear on our priority pay demands for next year and confirmed that they are the following:-

  • Inflation-proofed pay
  • A journey to pay restoration
  • Additional support for lower paid
  • Fully funded and applied consistently
  • Pay coherence for the civil service family employers (SG, RoS, SPS, SCTS, COPFS)
  • Reduction in the working week

The published pay policy does not meet our first two demands. It has also been confirmed to us that with the exception of the NHS resource budgets have been cut by an average 1.3% so some employers will be extremely resistant to funding the minimum of the policy as it is currently set out.

On that basis we will now:

  • Continue to make representations to SG officials with the other civil service unions across the sector
  • Ensure that we meet with the Cabinet Secretary as soon as possible
  • Make arrangements to meet with the Leaders of all the political parties to get them on board with our campaign
  • We have also placed the pay policy on the agenda for both the SNP and Labour Trade Union groups in January
  • Convene a meeting of the Scottish Sector in January
  • Continue with our strategic work across the sector to improve participation in PCS

In the meantime, branches can begin discussing this year’s pay policy and its shortcomings with members from today, in order to report back on the reaction. We will also be issuing information regarding branch data cleansing in order to prepare for all eventualities.

The NEC is consulting on the national pay dispute early in the New Year, including a proposed pay claim of between 8 and 10%.  Yesterday’s news now means that Scottish sector members will be well and truly part of the campaign for fair pay going forward.

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