Civil servants in Home Office, MoJ and HMRC to stage pay cap protest
PCS trade union has organised a day of protest against government pay policy on 31 August
Members of PCS staged a protest over pay outside the Treasury building earlier this year. Credit: Yui Mok/PA
Staff in the Home Office, HM Revenue and Customs and the Ministry of Justice are to protest on Thursday over the 1% public sector pay cap, which has been in place since 2012 following a two-year pay freeze.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services union will talke part in demonstrations across the UK as part of its campaign to call for an end to wage restraint for civil servants.
The protest has been planned to coincide with the Home Office pay award for 2017-18, which is due to be implemented on 31 August and sees a 12-month continuation of the pay cap – which PCS describes as “another real-terms cut in pay”.
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HMRC imposed the cap on its employees for another year on 31 July, while the MoJ has told PCS that it plans to follow suit.
The latest civil service pay guidance, set by the Treasury for the 2017-18 financial year, states that departments are expected to retain the 1% pay cap but that some requests for “flexibility to address specific recruitment and retention pressures” will be considered.
PCS said the protests are an opportunity to campaign for change while the government is “weak and divided – particularly around the issue of public sector pay”.
The cap was initially due to remain in place until 2020 but the result of the June 2017 snap general election – where Theresa May lost her majority – has seen increased calls for a rethink, including from Gavin Barwell, May's new chief of staff, and defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon.
According to research commissioned by PCS, the value of average pay in the civil service has fallen by up to 9% against inflation since 2012 and, if pay is capped until 2020, the value will have dropped by 20%.
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “Civil and public service workers keep our public services running but, like workers right across the public sector, their take-home pay has been cut year on year.
"The impact of the pay cap has already been devastating, and our members across the civil service are holding a day of protest against yet another year of the government’s pay policy."
The union wants government to boost pay for its civil servants by £1,200 or 5%.
It has called on its members in the departments – three of the biggest in Whitehall – to write to HMRC chief executive Jon Thompson, Home Office permanent secretary Philip Rutnam or justice secretary David Lidington, and urge them to call on the Treasury to lift the cap.
Other civil service unions, including the FDA and Prospect, have also called for the cap to be scrapped on the grounds that Brexit is straining an already under-resourced civil service.
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