Latest Public Sector News

12.03.15

Public sector pay award – 1% increase

Pay awards for nearly a million public sector workers will increase by 1% in 2015-16, Treasury officials have announced. 

It was revealed that the armed forces, teachers, prison service staff, independent GPs and dentists, senior military and the judiciary will benefit from the award. 

However, Police and Crime Commissioners and senior managers in the NHS will receive no pay increase this year. Earlier this week health unions accepted a revised 1% consolidated pay rise for NHS staff, as reported by PSE’s sister title NHE

Chief secretary of the Treasury Danny Alexander added that while pay restraint – something the teachers’ union NASUWT has voiced its displeasure at – has been difficult for many, it has helped protect public service hobs. 

“The independent pay review bodies have worked hard to bring forward a balanced and affordable set of recommendations that delivers on our commitments to increase pay by around 1% and deals with particular pressures,” he said. “The government is grateful for their work and I am pleased that we are able to accept their main recommendations.” 

As part of the deal for teachers, the education secretary Nicky Morgan said the recommendations of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) had been approved in full, including the right for schools to reward better-performing staff with the increase. 

The STRB had called for the upper end of the main pay range to be raised by 2%, while the minimum goes up 1%, allowing schools to reward their best teachers with a bigger rise. 

Morgan said: “This is particularly important for those who have been in the profession for a few years and are very important to the future of their schools.” 

However, NASUWT said the fact the review body recommended 2% on top of the main pay range signals strongly that there is a real issue in terms of the impact government policy is having on teacher supply. 

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “Whilst the review body may be acting with the best of intentions in seeking to introduce the opportunity for some teachers to receive up to 2%, unfortunately, this is still within the Treasury pay cap and takes no account of the fact that, thanks to the coalition government’s changes to the pay structure, schools can use their pay flexibilities to seek to avoid paying teachers any award at all. 

“Thousands of teachers face the prospect of being denied even the meagre cost of living award the review body is recommending.” 

Tristram Hunt MP, Labour’s shadow education secretary, added that the truth about the Tories is they are committed to spending plans which will mean “cuts of £70bn if they win the election – so extreme that they threaten the NHS. Their plans will see spending on schools cut in real terms”. 

UPDATE

Responding to the announcement, civil service union the FDA said pay constraint was putting the capability of Whitehall at risk. 

Dave Penman, FDA general secretary, said: “Any employer who knowingly and continually pays lower increases to its senior staff than to its other employees would be seen as irresponsible yet, year on year the government does exactly that with the senior civil service (SCS). 

“While the civil service seeks to recruit and retain talented and ambitious individuals, the government imposes a pay policy that succeeds only to undermine that objective. The SCS have seen cuts to their real pay and reward package of around a quarter over the last Parliament and government's own evidence to the SSRB recognises that pay is an increasing problem in the morale and motivation of senior civil servants.”

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