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Union to fight on as ministers impose Civil Service compensation cuts

Civil Service staff will be paid less upon exiting their jobs from today (9 November) as the Cabinet Office introduced a revised compensation scheme despite opposition from the PCS.

The trade union accused the government of “bad faith”, saying it had asked it to delay introducing the new payment scheme to give PCS time to hold a ballot.

The new scheme includes reducing the tariff for calculating exit payments from four weeks to three, cutting the exit and voluntary redundancy payments from 21 months’ salary to 18, cutting the compulsory redundancy payments cap from 12 months to nine, and raising the age for early payment of pension to 55.

Mark Serwotka, the PCS general secretary, said: “This is a despicable act of bad faith against its own workforce by a government that after shutting us out of talks is now imposing more cuts so soon after saying the system was sustainable and affordable.

“As by far the largest Civil Service union, we quite reasonably requested more time to be able to consult our members, so the refusal to allow that and now this imposition are an unnecessary and spiteful insult to them.”

Simon Claydon, the director of Civil Service workforce strategy and inclusion, first proposed the payments scheme to unions on 28 September.

He said the government would cap exit and voluntary redundancy payments at 15 months if a sufficient number of unions did not accept the offer.

PCS says it was excluded from talks because it refused to accept the condition that unions had to accept the deal before they could negotiate.

The PCS ballot, which opened this week and runs until 28 November, is a vote on the deal, not a strike, but the union says it has not ruled out industrial action.

It will also renew campaigns against job cuts and office closures, which it says the redundancy payments costs will facilitate, and said it would pursue a legal challenge on the grounds that the government had acted unlawfully.

Ben Gummer, minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “This is a strong negotiated settlement reached with trade unions that have engaged constructively in discussions. As a consequence we have an agreement that provides a firm foundation for the management of the Civil Service and its people for a generation.”

A Cabinet Office spokesperson also denied PCS' allegations that it had been excluded from the negotiation process, saying there had been "ample time" for consultation since 26 September and the government had "made every effort to engage with unions at every step".

John Manzoni, chief executive of the Civil Service, added that making sure the people of the UK have the best possible Civil Service means being able to recruit and retain the best people, “and being able to shape our workforce to effectively meet the challenges that we will face in the coming years”.

“The government is reforming the Civil Service compensation scheme to align with wider compensation reforms across the public sector and we think this offer gives us an effective, cost-efficient system to help civil servants leave when the time is right,” he said.

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