FDA General Secretary Dave Penman, along with his Prospect counterpart Mike Clancy, has called on the government to agree a simple, fair pay settlement for all civil servants in 2020, as the civil service continues to respond to the public health emergency.
In a joint letter to Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove, Penman and Clancy argued that recognising the current extraordinary circumstances and reaching an exceptional pay agreement for 2020 would avoid more than 200 sets of pay negotiations, freeing up vital resources at a time of national emergency and sending “the strongest possible signal to civil servants that the Government values their contribution”.
The General Secretaries wrote: “As you have recognised publicly, the civil service is performing extraordinary feats to respond to the new priorities from the pandemic, whilst at the same time maintaining vital public services and transforming their ways of working almost overnight”.
In a follow up piece for Civil Service World, they acknowledged that there were complexities that would need to be addressed, but that the last few weeks had shown that obstacles that once may have seemed insurmountable can be swept away with the “right focus and leadership”. It is time, they argued, “to sweep away any ideological objections and to recognise that a single pay settlement for the entire civil service would be in the national interest”.
Penman added: “In these extraordinary times, the last the thing the civil service needs is a business as usual pay round. The response of the service to this unprecedented challenge has been remarkable and it is right that ministers send a clear signal that they recognise that”.
The call from the unions comes as the Scottish Government has announced a 3% pay rise for all Scottish Government civil servants from 1 April, alongside other public sector staff in Scotland.
In a subsequent message to FDA members, Penman paid tribute to the work of civil servants: “As you continue to perform extraordinary feats, from directly supporting the response to the public health emergency to those dealing with unprecedented demands or developing new ways to support the country, the civil service has once again shown why it is judged as the best in the world”.