How would the government fund a 10% pay increase?
The government has lifted the pay cap and declared austerity over – but this does not apply to its own employees. To fund an increase above 1%, the government would need to reprioritise spending. Since 2010, in other parts of the public sector, employers have prioritised delivering pay rises for their staff over other spending. This has led to higher pay increases in health, local government and education than in the civil service.
It means that average pay in the civil service is now between 11.4% and 8.6% lower in value than in the rest of the public sector.
Local government in particular has seen swingeing cuts, but has still managed to deliver pay increases for its staff, significantly above those made to civil servants.
In the last few years the government has frequently reopened spending decisions to fund its political priorities; to promise spending in Northern Ireland as part of its coalition agreement with the DUP, additional funding for the health service, additional funding for Universal Credit, additional funding for Brexit and no-deal preparations, and most recently to promise funding for northern communities in an attempt to persuade Labour MPs to back
the government’s Brexit deal. If it can do it then, why can’t it give its staff the pay rise they deserve?
What is the Cabinet Office saying?
The government spending review has set departmental budgets until 2020. John Manzoni chief executive of the civil service recently told union negotiators that for 2019, funding for pay increases was 1%. He said that departments could negotiate higher pay increases by sacrificing terms and conditions.
An example of this approach arose in the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) last year. The management proposed a pay increase of 11% over 5 years, in exchange for a longer working week, cuts to overtime and cuts to sick pay. Our members in MoJ were furious and 94% voted to reject the offer.
Our claim is for a fully-funded pay increase, which is not funded by giving up hard-won terms and conditions.