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Monday 23 September 2019

Fast Streamers: Sign our petition for fair pay

By FDA Fast Stream Section
Cabinet office
J Walters / Shutterstock.com

The FDA Fast Stream Section has a proud history of standing up for our members. Now, we are asking all Fast Streamers to take a stand themselves.

We fight to improve pay, and for betters terms and conditions. Often this involves calling out government policy that hurts Fast Stream civil servants.

We did this last week, following the announcement that Fast Stream performance bonuses were to be slashed. We condemned this decision in Civil Service World, but our concerns were met by a disappointing response from a Cabinet Office spokesperson. Quoted in the same article, the spokesperson said that the pay award “was negotiated with trade unions”. In fact, the proposed performance awards were sent to the Cabinet Office trade unions in August for comment. The unions raised objections to the structure of the awards, but the Cabinet Office simply imposed them anyway. The FDA Fast Stream Section was not approached to express a view on behalf of our members. This is a strange definition of “negotiation”.

Tellingly, the Cabinet Office spokesperson also said: “Fast Streamers enjoy many of the civil service benefits on offer”. Fast Streamers are civil servants: to "enjoy the benefits of the civil service" is the very least we expect, yet this is quoted as something we should be grateful for.

This attitude explains why, again and again, the Cabinet Office treats civil servants on the Fast Stream as the poor relations of other Cabinet Office employees.

We are subject to a separate pay review process, which consistently leads to poorer pay outcomes for Fast Stream civil servants:

• Although held to the same performance criteria, we were paid 15% less than the minimum pay for Cabinet Office SEO colleagues in 2018-19, and this gap is set to widen further with this year’s Cabinet Office pay award.
• We are excluded time and time again from percentage cost of living increases to band minima awarded to other Cabinet Office civil servants annually. This means that the gap between Fast Stream pay and pay for their SEO colleagues in the Cabinet Office is widening year-on-year.
Our performance-related pay has been devalued for 2019-20 by comparison to 2018-19. Performance criteria increased but bonus levels decreased – by 58% for those who “meet” their objectives, and 14% for those who “exceed” their objectives.

This comes at a time when Fast Stream civil servants are taking on more responsibility and working longer hours to meet the demands of EU Exit. We are redeployed at short notice and without any choice as to our work, or even where we live. We are being treated as a flexible contingent labour force and asked to take on more and more, while being paid less and less each year in real terms.

We have written again to FSET to ask why we were not consulted on the decision to downgrade performance awards and why, once again, Fast Stream civil servants have been treated worse than their colleagues in the Cabinet Office. But it is time to do more.

We are therefore calling on our members to help us to say that enough is enough by signing our petition to the Cabinet Office Minster, Oliver Dowden demanding equal treatment for Fast Streamers.

We know that the rules on ‘political activity’ can be confusing, but civil servants can sign petitions about their terms and conditions. Indeed, many SCS recently did for a different FDA pay campaign.

This is your opportunity to show FSET and the Cabinet Office that Fast Stream civil servants have a voice and are not happy with the treatment to which they are subjected.

You do not need to be an FDA member to sign the petition. Moreover, it can only help our argument if other civil servants sign as well, so please encourage your Activity Manager and other colleagues who value your work to sign too.

Finally, if you are on the Fast Stream but not currently an FDA member, we would urge you to join the union, and help strengthen our voice for the discussions ahead. Fast Streamers receive the first six months of their union membership for free.

Help us send the Cabinet Office a clear message: Fast Stream pay is not an adjunct or optional extra. Our members are civil servants and should be treated fairly.

In 1958, the Council of Women Civil Servants dissolved itself, believing its objectives were met. Sixty years later, the FDA’s five surviving female presidents met to discuss the challenges still facing women in senior roles and to reflect on their time leading the union.
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