Union claims Whitehall most affected by public sector pay cap on day of protest

Written by Richard Johnstone and Tamsin Rutter on 31 August 2017 in News

Civil servants across the Home Office, MoJ and HMRC are today staging demonstrations over the continuation of the 1% cap on pay increases

Members of PCS staged a protest over pay outside the Treasury building earlier this yearCredit: Yui Mok/PA

The PCS trade union has today claimed that civil servants have been more affected by the 1% pay cap than other parts of the public sector as staff across government departments hold protests against the continuation of the limit.

As demonstrations were planned at Home Office, Ministry of Justice and HM Revenue and Customs sites across the country, the PCS highlighted that civil service pay has fallen by between £2,000 and £3,500 in real terms since 2010 due to a combination of a two-year pay freeze, the subsequent 1% cap and changes to pension and National Insurance contributions.

This is a higher real terms decline than other parts of the public sector and the wider economy, the union said.


PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said that civil servants keep public services running but more hardworking staff were being pushed into poverty by the 1% limit.

“Ministers can and must act immediately to increase the wages of their own workforce. The pay cap is unsustainable. Our message is clear: all public servants deserve a proper pay rise and the cap must be lifted now,” he said.

Today’s protests have 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”.

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. 

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.

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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Richard Johnstone and Tamsin Rutter
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Richard Johnstone is CSW's deputy and online editor and tweets as @CSW_DepEd


Tamsin Rutter is senior reporter for Civil Service World and tweets as @TamsinRutter

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Submitted on 31 August, 2017 - 14:31
'Civil servants across the Home Office, MoJ and HMRC are today staging demonstrations over the continuation of the 1% cap on pay increases' Really? must have missed it.

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