Exclusive: Kerslake indicates backing for withdrawal of privilege days

Privilege days – where civil servants get extra days off following bank holidays or on days significant to the monarchy – are “completely out of line” with what you would see in the private sector and must be reviewed, Sir Bob Kerslake, head of the civil service, has told CSW.

By Joshua.Chambers

01 Nov 2012

“We want to be a good modern employer and we do need to look at where our terms and conditions are completely out of line with what you would see elsewhere,” Kerslake said, adding that “the most obvious one people refer to is the privilege days, where you will have to look hard to find anywhere that operates similar things in the public or private sector.”

Departments are currently reviewing terms and conditions as part of the Civil Service Reform Plan. Kerslake said the review could improve some civil service terms and conditions, such as ensuring that people who are promoted while on placement keep their new grade when they return to their home department.

However, FDA general secretary Dave Penman (see right) has told CSW that his union is “angry” at the review because it feels it has been excluded from the process, and has pledged to challenge any proposed changes unless the Cabinet Office stops the process and begins discussions with his union.

“We are going to be saying: what’s in it for us?”, Penman said. “We’re going to be challenging everything we think we can challenge.”

The FDA general secretary said that reform of terms of conditions would require “hundreds of negotiations,” because departments and agencies all hire civil servants on different contracts, rather than the government operating as one employer.

Kerslake said “the trade unions have been consulted but terms and conditions are things that are done department by department,” adding that “there will be an opportunity for further discussions with the trade unions across Whitehall”.

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