'Government listened': FDA union scraps strike ballot after revised pay offer

Union says government's recent improved pay offer "addresses most of the factors that led to the dispute”

The FDA union has called off its ballot on industrial action over pay, in light of this month’s revised pay offer for civil servants.

The union has officially cancelled the ballot, which has been on hold since the Cabinet Office and unions agreed to breakthrough talks at the end of May. Announced in April, the vote had been due to open on 30 May and would have been the union’s first national strike ballot over pay in more than 40 years.

On 2 June, the Cabinet Office updated its pay remit guidance, enabling departments to give rank-and-file civil servants a £1,500 cost-of-living payment. The one-off payment applies to anyone who falls under the remit guidance, which says departments can offer average pay rises to civil servants below SCS level a 4.5% pay rise for 2023-34 – rising to 5% for the lowest-paid officials.

The department also announced a moratorium on any changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme until 2025; pledged to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible; and committed to making the introduction of capability-based pay for the SCS a ministerial priority.

The FDA’s executive committee has now agreed the changes represent a “significant improvement on the original pay framework for the civil service and addresses most of the factors that led to the dispute”, the union said in a statement.

It added that it would continue its campaign for long-term reform of the civil service pay system. Among other things, the union has called for pay to be negotiated centrally, rather than with individual civil service employers.

FDA general secretary Dave Penman said the ballot had achieved its aim and that industrial action "was never an end in itself".

He said the union would spend the next few months setting out a "coherent vision for civil service pay" and working with partners "to start the task of convincing this government, or the next, of the need for urgent and radical reform".

“There is clearly still more to do – this year and in the longer term – but that should not detract from the significant achievement in persuading the government to revise its offer. The FDA’s decision to ballot for national industrial action over pay, for the first time in over 40 years, sent a clear message to government about our members’ anger. Ultimately, the government listened," he said.

“A strong, pragmatic union, embodying the values of our members. Unafraid to challenge and unafraid to reach agreement. That’s why the FDA continues to go from strength to strength.”

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