FDA calls on Dowden to intervene in Fast Stream pay dispute

Union reveals that a review of Fast Stream pay is currently awaiting Treasury clearance
Photo: Chris McAndrew/ CC BY SA 3.0

By Colin Marrs

20 Nov 2019

The FDA has escalated its dispute over the government’s pay offer to Fast Stream civil servants in a letter to Cabinet Office minister OIiver Dowden.

Last week, the union wrote to the civil service’s chief people officer Rupert McNeil to lodge a formal pay dispute over the offer made to fast streamers for this year, saying the latest offer leaves most of them just £80 a year better off before tax.

Now, FDA national officer Steven Littlewood has called on Dowden to intercede in the dispute.


Littlewood’s letter said: “We are seeking your support and intervention to get a fair deal for our members and resolve this dispute.”

Fast streamers are set to receive a pay rise of between 0.5% and 1.5%, compared with a minimum 2% rise for other Cabinet Office staff.

Fast Stream members last week rejected the Cabinet Office pay offer, with nearly 60% of eligible members voting and 99.7% voting against it, according to Littlewood.

His letter added that the pay offer was part of a much wider structural problem, which treats Fast Stream staff unfairly.

It was also copied to shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett, alongside Department for Exiting the European Union secretary Stephen Barclay and his shadow Keir Starmer, as more than 500 Fast Stream civil servants – roughly a third of those employed on the scheme – are currently posted in roles related to Brexit across government.

The letter was also copied to chancellor Sajid Javid and his Labour opposite number John McDonnell, as Littlewood said that a review of Fast Stream pay is currently awaiting Treasury clearance.

He added: “Civil servants on the Fast Stream scheme are excluded from annual uplifts to band minima awarded to other Cabinet Office staff and pay bands are not reviewed annually; we are not aware of any other pay band in the entire civil service that has been frozen at this rate for this long.

“This has left Fast Stream civil servants’ pay to stagnate both in real terms, and in comparison to their colleagues across the civil service.”

Littlewood also attached a 650-signature petition which calls “for fair pay for Fast Stream civil servants and to fix the bias against them in Cabinet Office’s current pay structures”.

Speaking to CSW, he said: "Despite 99.7% of FDA members rejecting the offer, Cabinet Office has said it will impose its paltry offer.

“We are calling on the minster to ensure that the department gets around the table to reopen negotiations and agree a fair settlement for Fast Stream civil servants.

“It is ridiculous that in a campaign period where you can't open a newspaper or switch on a TV without hearing about the parties' plans for Brexit the government is forcing a real terms wage cut onto civil servants tasked with delivering those plans."

Responding to the letter, a Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “Fast Streamers benefit from unrivalled choice of different professions, high quality training and a leadership development programme that will prepare them to take up some of the most senior and influential roles in the country.

"The civil service values all of its staff and offers a wide-ranging benefits package, including competitive starting salaries for roles at every level.”

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