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Thursday 14 September 2023

FDA at TUC Congress 2023


At the 155th Annual Trades Union Congress delegates voted to support the FDA’s motions on Pay Review Bodies and standards in public life. 

Pay review bodies

On Sunday 10th September, the first day of Congress, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman moved a motion which set out why Pay Review Bodies (PRBs) need to be strengthened and more effective to ensure that we achieve the best outcomes for our members that are impacted by PRBs. 

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said that when PRBs were making decisions that had “such a fundamental impact on our members working lives”, unions have to make sure “we have done everything in our power to get the best possible outcomes”.

The motion was seconded by the College of Podiatry, supported by PCS and passed overwhelmingly. 

Standards in Public Life

FDA Vice President Margaret Haig moved a motion, “Standards in Public Life”, which called on Congress to ‘recognises that maintaining the highest standards in public life is the bedrock of our democracy, our economic success, our foreign policy, and is crucial to maintaining confidence in our public institutions’.

“We have seen some pretty astonishing behaviour from people who have control in the highest echelons of our country, who seem to have forgotten – or even consciously set aside – these principles,” Haig told delegates. 

The motion was seconded by Prospect and passed unanimously. 

Elsewhere at Congress

As well as moving our own motions, our delegates supported relevant motions bought forward by other unions. 

On the Sunday, FDA President Tony Wallace spoke to support a motion on “Investing fair funding in public services”. Wallace called for for a stable long term plan for public services” and strongly criticised “a chronic lack of investment and long term planning”. 


The FDA President also spoke to support “Tax raising measures and fair taxation”, telling delegates that properly resourcing HMRC improves the effectiveness of our tax system and provides value for money for the public purse. Wallace stated that HMRC “returns on average of £18 for every single pound that is spent on compliance" and “only by investing in the people who actually deliver for you and for the country will you deliver the change that you want”. 


Away from the Congress Hall, FDA National Officer, Steven Littlewood, spoke at a TUC Fringe event on flexible working the public sector, alongside representatives from the Royal College of Midwifery, NASUWT, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and Gingerbread, an organisation for single mothers.

Littlewood told attendees that flexible working in the civil service is in a better place than a few years ago. Requests for flexible arrangements are now less stigmatised and less gendered, as in 2019 when research conducted by the FDA showed that women were more likely to ask for flexible working at every grade in the civil service. However, challenges remain, including ensuring that this culture is imbedded and more formalised. Littlewood also highlighted the challenge posed by attacks from some ministers and sections of the media against civil servants working hybridly. 

Dave Penman was also re-elected to the TUC’s General Council. For the first time Penman was also joined the General Council’s Executive Committee. Through this role he will work with colleagues from across the union movement to influence the priorities of the TUC and ensure the voices of FDA members are heard.
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