Anger as Javid rebuffs union's plea for bespoke Home Office pay deal
FDA union accuses home secretary of 'ducking responsibility' after police pledge
Sajid Javid Credit: PA
One of Whitehall's most influential unions has accused home secretary Sajid Javid of practicing double standards in relation to pay for the department's tens of thousands of civil servants.
The FDA union, which represents civil service staff at senior grades, said that while Javid had made positive commitments about police funding and pay at a recent conference, he had refused to engage in talks on creating a bespoke pay deal for departmental staff to be put to the Treasury and was relying instead on an effective new 1.5% pay cap.
General secretary Dave Penman said the union had written to Javid seeking dialogue on a better staff pay and reward offer after his comments to the Police Federation but the home secretary – who replaced Amber Rudd after she resigned in the midst of the Windrush Scandal – had declined.
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“As home secretary, Sajid Javid is personally responsible for agreeing the pay offer for his civil servants,” he said.
“Despite this, not only has he refused to meet with me to discuss the offer, but he says there is ‘little benefit to be gained from a conversation on these matters’.”
Javid’s full response – seen by CSW – indicated that the Home Office had decided in July that it would work within updated Treasury guidance that departments could offer annual pay rises averaging up to 1.5% for civil servants where they were funded from existing budgets, and would not put together a business case for a bespoke deal. The Ministry of Justice is one department that has recently sought to reallocate its resources to provide a five year pay deal worth up to 11% for some staff, whle the Department for Work and Pensions previously agreed a cap-busing deal in return for working hours “flexibilities” from staff.
Penman said Javid’s response stood in stark contrast to the message he gave to the Police Federation – essentially the trade union for the force – weeks earlier.
“As home secretary he was happy to speak at the Police Federation conference saying he understood that police deserve to be ‘respected and valued’ and that they feel ‘stretched, overburdened and not sufficiently rewarded’,” Penman said.
“He pledged to prioritise police funding in the spending review. Yet when it comes to the civil service, he is ducking his responsibility to explain why he’s content for his civil servants to be the poor relation in the public sector on pay rises this year.”
Penman said that the nation’s security was not only protected by serving police officers, but also by counter-terrorism specialists, border officials, and a range of other roles undertaken by departmental or agency staff.
“Thousands of civil servants in his department support the work of the police service or are the first line of defence at the border,” he said. “Cherry-picking groups of public servants for special treatment and better pay rises is dispiriting to civil servants.
“Home Office staff deserve better than warm words from their minister, who ultimately chose to impose a new pay cap of 1.5% on them.”
Javid’s letter to Penman insisted he felt similarly about the “hard-working and committed Home Office workforce” as he did about police, but said the department’s pay negotiating team was in the driving seat for discussions on reward and remuneration.
“The Home Office’s pay negotiating team has the authority to act on behalf of the department in negotiations on pay,” he said. “As you are aware, I have no role in the negotiations process.”
Javid concluded: “I remind you of my respect for the work that Home Office colleagues undertake, often in very challenging circumstances.”
Around 30,000 people work either for the Home Office or its executive agencies and non-ministerial departments.
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