Civil Service Compensation Scheme: let’s get it right this time

Written by Mark Serwotka on 12 October 2017 in Opinion
Opinion

The PCS won a victory in getting the latest changes to civil service redundancy payments ruled unlawful. The government can’t ignore the views of unions again

There has been a lot of publicity about the clear decision of the High Court to squash the CSCS scheme imposed by the government against the wishes of unions representing a majority of civil servants. It’s important to revisit what are important principles for PCS members – that our starting point is to fight for the best possible terms and conditions for our members at all times.

Hundreds and thousands of civil servants are now set to benefit financially from the ruling of the courts to side with PCS in rejecting the imposition of the ‘new’ terms.

We reiterate what we said at the time – we want genuine negotiations with the government but this can’t be achieved with the ‘gun to the head’ approach adopted by the government, where talks can only progress if the unions agree in advance to a remit determined only by the government.


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The attitude of the coalition government (2010-15), and then the Tory majority government since, has been to impose austerity upon civil servants and make our members pay for the mistakes of others.

We strongly believe there is no case for changing the 2010 terms and remind the government that at the time they said those changes were for ‘right for the long term’. 96% of our members rejected the latest changes when we balloted them. A mandate like this can’t be ignored.

The latest government’s snap consultation appears to have made no attempt to really engage and my view is they are trying to re-run this as quickly as they can to get the same outcome. That is a total misreading of why they lost in court.

They can’t just ignore the views that the unions are putting forward and we need a more constructive approach to negotiations, not these ill-judged and premature proposals.

If they are going to take consultation seriously, they should sit down and listen to what we have to say.

After the ruling a member from the HMRC wrote to me and said “I believe PCS has won me an extra £10,000. For some 50 to 55 year olds it could be a lot more! I am not happy about being forced out of my job, but our victory makes me far more confident now that I can cope with the financial impact”.

Stories like this are proof that we were right to challenge these changes in court and we remain determined to oppose changes in the future that are of detriment to our members overall.

About the author

Mark Serwotka is the general secretary of the PCS trade union

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