DWP pay deal 'fails to address' pay system inequalities, union says

PCS's DWP group says it has rejected the award for 2023-24
Photo: Adobe Stock

By Tevye Markson

10 Aug 2023

The PCS union has rejected the Department for Work and Pensions’ pay award for its civil servants this year, saying it fails to address inequalities in the department’s pay system.

DWP has announced a pay deal in line with the Cabinet Office pay remit of 4.5% plus 0.5% for the lowest paid, and a lump sum £1,500 for all members who were in the civil service before April and are working in the department currently.

The PCS union’s DWP group executive committee said it has rejected the award as it “does not meet our aspirations or address the inequalities of DWP’s pay system”.

“Despite negotiators having achieved extra money above 4.5% for the vast majority of staff in grades AA-EO, the group executive committee has agreed to reject the offer on behalf of members in line with the union’s national policy, as it does not go far enough to reward our members or address the pay inequalities of DWP’s pay system,” PCS said in a news release.

Under the offer, AAs will receive a rise of between 4.5 and 5%, AOs will receive between 4.5 and 6.25%, EOs will receive 4.5-4.92% and all other staff to G6 will receive 4.5%.

Officials in the department have been offered different percentage increases depending on their location and whether or not they are part of the DWP’s existing Employee Deal pay structure.

The Employee Deal, which was negotiated in 2016, allowed civil servants at lower grades to opt in to receive pay rises of up to 20% over four years, in exchange for changes to their contracted hours.

The DWP group said one of its concerns was the similarity in pay levels for administrative assistants and administrative officers. It said the department had accepted the need to re-introduce a differential between AA and AO grades after it had been wiped-out by the impact of the National Living Wage increase in April. However, it said the pay offer means that another cost-of-living increase to the NLW next April may recreate the same problem of identical pay for AAs and AOs in a year's time.

PCS said the department had reasoned that they were unable to pay more to the lowest paid due to the high proportion of AO and EO members. The union said DWP refused to consider looking at either paying a flat-rate cash increase across the board or limiting increases in the higher grades to boost the amount they could pay to the lowest paid.

The union also raised concerns about the £1,500 payment.

Members in the DWP who were eligible for the £1,500 one-off backdated payment for 2022-23 received it at the end of July, according to PCS.

But it said: “Despite our very strong representations, DWP insisted on making this as a pro-rata payment, and also refused to offer any form of split payment which could have assisted those in receipt of benefits or repaying Student Loans.”

In addition to the £1,5000 payment, the department has given civil servants the following non-consolidated bonuses for 2023-24: 

Grade

Offer

AA

£210

AO

£210

EO

£150

HEO – G6

£80

PCS is currently balloting members about whether to continue its campaign for better pay, pensions and job security.

A DWP spokesperson said: “We have prioritised lower-paid employees, awarding them higher pay increases and a bigger non-consolidated award.”

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