Thousands demand Lidington act as ministerial champion on civil service pay

Written by Beckie Smith on 3 June 2019 in News
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FDA petition says pay has stagnated while ministers 'make political capital out of the end of austerity'

FDA vice president Tony Wallace and president Fiona Eadie with the petition. Photo: Mark Thomas.

Nearly 6,000 have signed a petition calling on Cabinet Office minister David Lidington to champion better pay for civil servants.

The FDA union, which backed the petition, submitted 5,711 signatures to the Cabinet Office on Friday in a bid to show the strength of feeling among civil servants about pay stagnation in recent years.

The petition, which was started by tax professional Tony Wallace, said civil servants deserved to have a minister speaking up for them in the same way that ministers had championed higher pay for other public servants, such as police and teachers.


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“With your help, we can make sure Lidington hears our message: civil servants demand fair pay, not real-terms pay cuts,” the union said in an email urging members to sign the petition last week.

In an introduction to the petition, Wallace said that even after the government lifted the 1% cap on pay rises for civil servants in 2017, members of the FDA – which represents senior civil servants – had “been left barely better off”.

“For almost ten years my pay has stagnated and I am now in real terms much worse off than I was in 2010. Ministers are making political capital out of the end of austerity but the reality for me and my civil service colleagues is that we continue to grow poorer,” he wrote.

“This is why I am calling on David Lidington, minister for the Cabinet Office, to be our champion.”

He added: “In other areas, we have seen action and results. Ministers have fought for better departmental staff pay rises, and won.

“However, civil servants have been left behind with employers adopting civil service pay remit guidelines and awarding below-inflation 1.5% raises.”

The Cabinet Office’s decision last year to cap pay rises for civil servants at an average of 1.5% following the lifting of the cap has angered unions. The FDA, Prospect and PCS unions said they had not been consulted enough on the guidance to departments, which they said meant civil servants faced lower pay rises than other public servants.

The three unions contend that real-terms pay had fallen significantly in the last decade as austerity measures have meant pay rises have failed to match the rate of inflation.

Commenting on the petition, one signatory said: “I am sick of having to work harder for less money than I was on 10 years ago!”

Another said they had received no consolidated pay rise for three years. “Fair pay - My future; my pension; both are being eroded,” they said.

Another added: “Ministers champion other public servants like fire-fighters and nurses? Civil servants also deserve a champion.”

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Beckie Smith
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Beckie Smith is a reporter for CSW who tweets Beckie__Smith.

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