'We viewed that as the start': Union leaders call for pay reform

FDA and Prospect general secretaries request meeting with minister for the Cabinet Office Jeremy Quin to discuss “broken” pay system which is hindering reform across civil service
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By Suzannah Brecknell

02 Aug 2023

The FDA and Prospect unions are calling for reform of the civil service pay system, describing it as “broken beyond repair” after going unreformed for three decades.

In a letter sent to minister for the Cabinet Office Jeremy Quin, Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy and FDA chief Dave Penman said the civil service remit process “not only prevents individual employers developing a strategic approach to their pay and reward, but it also prevents any sort of strategic approach at the centre and is actively hindering other workforce strategies you want to progress for the whole of the civil service”.

The union leaders, who welcome “increased engagement” from Quin on this matter in the last year, have requested an urgent meeting with the minister to discuss pay reform.

Earlier this year, Prospect’s members in the civil service undertook the largest industrial action in a decade as part of a campaign to improve pay for civil servants, and the FDA announced its first national industrial action ballot on pay in 40 years in response to the government publishing pay remit guidance for 2023/24 which included no additional payment for 2022/23.

These industrial disputes were resolved after securing an improved offer from the government which gave a pay award of 4.5% for non-senior civil servants, rising to 5% for the lowest grades, and a one-off cost of living payment of £1,500.

In the letter setting out the pay award to delegated grade civil servants, Quin also “extended an offer of dialogue with the trade unions about the longer-term strategy for civil service pay,” according to the union leaders.

Taking up this offer of dialogue, Clancy and Penman say the 4.5% pay award made civil servant’s pay  “more comparable to the wider public sector” but did not resolve broader concerns about the government’s delegated pay system.

“We need to be clear with you, that we and our members viewed that [award] as a start,” the general secretaries wrote to Quin.

Their letter continued: “The value of civil service pay has plummeted over the past decade, and this is having a devasting impact on the morale and motivation of civil servants and causing intense recruitment and retention pressures for employers.

“There is far more to be done to address the fall in real terms value of civil service pay and fundamental reform of the system for pay setting is urgently needed. We want to see a pay structure that rewards talent, knowledge and expertise so that the civil service can recruit and retain skilled staff that can address the major challenges faced by our vital public services.”



FDA Prospect


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