The FDA has lodged a formal pay dispute over the offer made to fast streamers for this year, which they say falls well below the pay rise given to other civil servants.
The trade union has written to the civil service’s chief people officer, Rupert McNeil, saying that the latest offer to Fast Stream participants leaves most of them just £80 a year better off, before tax.
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.
The Cabinet Office-wide raise is in line with guidance it put out for the whole civil service in summer, which allowed departments to offer their staff an average pay increase of up to 2%, and to decide how to split the raise among grades. Departments could then submit a business case to the Treasury asking for greater flexibility to award higher pay rises, although not all of those put forward have been accepted.
The union said that fast streamers had been “excluded” from band minima increases offered to other Cabinet Office staff, which it said ranged from 4% to 10%. The department has not yet funded an increase to Fast Stream pay band minima, making 2019-20 the third year in a row it has remained frozen.
The dispute comes after the FDA slammed the Cabinet Office for cutting performance-related bonuses for fast streamers, saying the reductions were "disappointing" as the Fast Stream was coming under pressure because of additional Brexit-related work.
More than half of the FDA’s centralised Fast Stream members based in the Cabinet Office voted in the union’s ballot on the pay offer and more than 99% of those that took part voted to reject it, according to the union’s national officer, Steven Littlewood.
The FDA is now consulting with its members over the next steps to take in its campaign.
“It is absolutely unbelievable that the Cabinet Office would think this offer was acceptable,” Littlewood said.
“While other Cabinet Office staff on band minima were offered between 4-10%, Fast Stream members were offered only a fraction of that, and to add insult to injury a majority would not benefit at all as the Fast Stream band minima remains frozen again for the third year in a row.
“No other grade minima in the civil service has been allowed to stagnate for as long as this in recent years. We are urging the Cabinet Office to meet with us and negotiate a proper settlement that delivers a meaningful pay rise for all Fast Stream staff.”
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: "We have received the letter and will respond in due course."