Latest Public Sector News

08.02.16

Union opposes ‘unjustified’ public sector redundancy tariffs

A major union has opposed new redundancy tariff proposals for the public sector, which the government has opened for consultation.

The proposed changes seek to make public sector redundancy payments more in line with the private sector with measures including setting a maximum tariff to calculate exit payments at three weeks pay per year of service and setting a salary cap for calculating exit payments based on £80,000.

There are also plans for capping the maximum number of months’ salary that can be used to calculate redundancy payments, and introducing a tapering element that will reduce the amount of compensation an individual is entitled to the closer they get to their retirement age.

The PCS opposed the changes and accused the government of “breaking promises” by trying to introduce further limitations after the 2010 Superannuation Act capped redundancy payments to civil servants at 15 months’ salary.

PCS press officer Richard Simcox told PSE: “The changes that the previous government brought in were designed to be long-term and were deemed to be affordable and sustainable.

“We don’t accept that there’s any need for those terms to be hacked back any more, because our definition of affordable and sustainable and long-term stretches more than a few years.”

The government says it has saved £12bn through its reforms to public sector pay and conditions in the last Parliament, and proposals to end ‘golden parachutes’ in the public sector were part of last year’s Queen’s Speech.

The changes apply to all major workforces including the Civil Service, teachers, firefighters, NHS staff, police officers and local government workers.

The consultation is open until 3 May and the government is seeking opinions and feedback on the proposed changes from groups including individuals, public sector employees, government departments, consumer groups and providers of redundancy schemes.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands MP said: “Reforming public sector redundancy payments could save taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds by 2020 and will ensure that public sector workers get a fair deal by ensuring greater consistency in redundancy pay-out terms between workforces.

“New guidance for public sector employers on pay and terms will set out what is acceptable and what isn’t. Taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be used to pay for private health insurance and gagging orders to cover up bad practice.”

Hands has also written to all government departments setting out new guidance on pay and conditions, which include requirements for chief secretary approval of pay packages above £142,500, confidentiality clauses to only be used in exceptional circumstances and taxpayer’s money to not be used to pay for private health insurance.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said it was “utterly sickening to see the Tories treat civil servants with such contempt, rowing back on promises made just a few years ago.

“In the same way that public sector pensions were slashed on the basis of a lie, there is no justification or need for this and we will be opposing it.”

Interested parties can take part in the consultation via the government’s website.

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