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Tuesday 08 December 2020

FDA launches legal action over cap on exit payments

The FDA has launched a legal challenge against the imposition by the government of a £95,000 cap on public sector exit payments. The union is seeking, via a Judicial Review, to challenge the government’s 2020 regulations restricting exit payments.

Speaking to Civil Service World, Assistant General Secretary Lucille Thirlby explained that the FDA had been left with no option but to pursue the matter through the courts: “These significant and complex changes have been rushed through without any meaningful dialogue, with the government imposing arbitrary cuts to exit and redundancy terms that could potentially affect hundreds of thousands of public servants, and not just to those on higher salaries.”

Thirlby went on to argue that the government had “once again targeted the very public sector workers who have performed such extraordinary feats over the last nine months to keep our vital public services functioning.”

In a message to members announcing the legal action, Thirlby explained why the FDA had launched the challenge: “As your trade union, we are committed to doing everything in our power to protect your terms and conditions. The government has not taken the basic steps to ensure that the cap operates fairly and effectively or to exempt low earners from being caught in the cap.

“They have refused to ensure that the cap is index linked so that it does not reduce in real terms over time. They have not conducted an equality impact assessment, and the cap includes pension strain payments and settlement agreements.”

In conclusion, she told members that “the government has patently failed to meet its obligations, set out in the Superannuation Act, to properly consult with a view to reaching an agreement on changes to your terms and conditions in the Civil Service Compensation Scheme. We have therefore been left with no option but to pursue this matter via a legal challenge, in order that we can defend the rights of our members.”

The FDA will continue to keep its members updated on the progress of the legal challenge.

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