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Friday 30 November 2018

Government risks a shootout on civil service pay: Penman in CSW

In his latest column for Civil Service World, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman reflects on the civil service’s failure to meaningfully consult with unions for the 2018 pay round.

Warning that the civil service still “struggles to act coherently as an employer” when it comes to pay, Penman asks the question: “do they even recognise the need for change or are we headed for a shootout?”

He writes: “One of the by-products of the recent judicial review we submitted on pay was the documentation disclosed as part of that process. Whilst we were unable to persuade the court that the civil service was obliged to meaningfully consult the unions over this year’s pay guidance, it did shine a light on how decisions were made.

“After almost a decade of pay restraint, managing expectations seemed to be the main focus of debate and, as one choice line from the Treasury revealed, it was felt that such a low pay increase would help manage the expectations of other pay review bodies. Good to know that such a paltry pay rise for civil servants served a useful purpose.

“Absent from the entire process was any real consideration for what staff would want or indeed what might be necessary to motivate, reward and recruit. Budgets were the focus of attention and asking for extra flexibility from the Treasury was ruled out.”

You can read the column in full here.

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