Civil service unions jointly issue legal proceedings over civil service pay

10 August 2018

PCS, Prospect and FDA have launched legal proceedings seeking judicial review of the government’s consultation over the 2018 civil service pay guidance.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union writes in a press release that this legal action follows a number of failed attempts to resolve the dispute with ministers. Instead, the government has made clear in defending its position that there was never any attempt to meaningfully consult the unions on the new civil service pay cap and did not trust the unions to keep any proposed figure confidential during negotiations.



In June the Treasury published the 2018 pay remit guidance, without consultation with the unions. PCS expressed anger and disappointment at the time that the Treasury had failed to consult before announcing government departments would be able to make average pay awards above 1-1.5%, but only in exchange for further cuts.

The remit provides a framework within which all civil service departments will set pay for 2018 to 2019. It details that departments “will be able to give average awards higher than the 1- 1.5% range in exchange for plans to improve workforce productivity”.

Departments will additionally not be permitted to reduce their performance-related pay pots to provide additional funding for the consolidated pay bill, for example, to fund an across-the-board increase in excess of 1.5%, but “must be targeted to address recruitment and retention pressures”.

The PSC said at the time that this “improvement in productivity”, otherwise known as further cuts, is being proposed despite the fact there have been 180,000 jobs cut in the civil service, making it the smallest civil service since the Second World War. PSC members have reportedly lost an average of £4,400 in wages in real terms and face ever-growing workloads.

The PSC’s 2018 pay claim calls for a fully- funded 5% pay rise, a Living Wage of £10 an hour, pay equality across the civil service and a common pay and grading structure. We feel that our claim for this year is the right place to start to redress the balance.

In the recent press release PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said:

“Not content with reneging on its commitments to engage in consultation on an issue as fundamental as our members’ pay, the government is now adding insult to injury by claiming it never intended to consult in the first place. This shambolic state of affairs cannot go unchallenged and we will now pursue this matter to the High Court.”

Read more from the PSC.