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Wednesday 19 April 2023

FDA Cymru|Wales: Pay offer for Welsh civil servants “doubly disappointing”

The FDA has met with the Welsh Government Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans MS, to discuss unequal pay for civil servants compared to other public sector workers. 

The meeting took place following the FDA Cymru|Wales National Officer, Gareth Hills, writing to Evans, calling on ministers to match the additional ‘cost of living’ pay awards offered to teachers and nurses by making a similar offer to staff in the Welsh Government and other devolved bodies.

In Evans' response, Hills, along with officials from Prospect and PCS, were invited to a meeting to discuss pay.

At the meeting the minister stated that she is unable to reopen the pay settlement for 2022-23 and that there is no additional money available for civil service pay. 

The minister added that should the UK Government make an increased offer to civil servants in England which results in a Barnett consequential (a proportionate amount of additional money) coming to Wales, she would consider making a further pay offer to devolved civil servants, subject to discussions with the Trade Unions.

Hills and FDA Cymru|Wales have branded Evans’ message as “doubly disappointing”. Additional funding has been available for other parts of the public sector - ministers are making political choices which place civil servants in Wales at the very bottom of the public sector pay ladder. Hills also argued that this seems to runs contrary to Welsh Government’s declared intent of ‘One Public Service Wales’ and achieving pay cohesion across the Welsh public sector.  

During the meeting, the minister expressed concern about headlines of the recent FDA Welsh Government pay survey shared with her and what that meant for well-being. That led to a discussion around resources and priorities with Hills stressing that despite warm words from the First Minister, the Finance Minister herself, and others, “there have been no tangible changes to a never-ending workload that is damaging people’s well-being and leaving them feeling broken”. Hills emphasised that although Welsh Government has policies for Time off in Lieu (and in certain circumstances, overtime) the reality is that FDA members’ workload is so high they cannot take advantage of these policies. 

Evans challenged the unions in attendance to provide solutions to this issue. Hills replied: “remuneration for every hour worked, increased resources, and ministers actually prioritising the programme for government to identify pieces of work that can be stopped.” The minister noted the response and said she’d discuss with colleagues and officials.
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