The PCS trade union has demanded an urgent meeting with DWP permanent secretary Peter Schofield after it rejected a 2% pay offer for the year.
The union has announced it is organising staff meetings across the Department for Work and Pensions to firm up its next mov
DWP tabled the maximum 2% pay bill increase permissible under current Cabinet Office guidance
, which PCS said would have resulted in consolidated rises worth at least 1.5% for staff at Grade 6 and below, with SEOs at the bottom of their pay band in line for 3.5% rises.
However, the union said the overall package did not keep pace with inflation and expressed anger that DWP management had not sought additional flexibility from HM Treasury to break the 2% cap. Bosses at the Department for Exiting the European Union took such steps and agreed a 6% pay bill increase – which has resulted an average rise of 7.6% for staff.
One complicating factor for DWP’s current-year pay rise is the four-year “employee deal” bosses struck with staff in 2016 that delivered a pay-cap busting settlement in return for new concession on working hours and weekend working.
The deal – which is subject to annual review as part of the pay process – was worth up to 20% for some staff over the whole period, in stark contrast to the 1% pay cap that was in place at the time. Staff who did not sign up to the deal were locked into pay rises worth just 0.25%.
PCS said it was angry that the employee deal review process had resulted in no changes to the offer in 2019, despite mitigating factors including a higher rate of inflation and the broader relaxation of the public sector pay cap from the “rigidly-enforced” 1% in 2016.
It said that all AO grade staff in the national pay zone who opted out of the employee deal in 2016 were now paid less than new-starter counterparts.
The union said it would continue to campaign for better pay in across the department as the employee deal period comes to an end and would “consider any legal options there may be” for challenging members’ pay.
“We are holding members’ meetings in all DWP offices in the coming weeks to consult members on pay and to hold workplace ballots on the pay offer,” it said.
A DWP spokesperson told CSW: “We greatly value the work that all our colleagues do. We are in the final year of the employee deal multi-year pay deal for colleagues at grades administrative assistant to higher executive officer, and for senior executive officer to grade 6 we committed to paying the maximum 2% increase.”