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Thursday 26 January 2017

Selling pension provision on the cheap will not address civil service struggle to recruit and retain key staff, says FDA

Responding to the consultation on a new remuneration package for commercial specialists in the civil service, FDA Assistant General Secretary Naomi Cooke said:

"The failure of senior pay in the civil service to keep even a vague connection to the market is drawn into sharp focus by these proposals. Even by stripping away all the decent terms and conditions built up over decades, the civil service still cannot offer pay rates that compete with those available in the private sector.

"The proposal in this consultation is that the civil service will be able to recruit and retain high calibre commercial specialists by offering them a worse package of terms and conditions than are currently on offer. The Government offers no evidence to support this conclusion, while the changes would create new barriers for staff moving to and from the Government Commercial Organisation (GCO) from the rest of the civil service.

"While that could simply look like a bad idea, we are deeply concerned that this is a much more cynical indication that the Government intends to renege on commitments to key civil service terms and conditions, like access to a high quality pension scheme. The current Civil Service Pension Scheme was the subject of detailed negotiation and agreement less than five years ago, following the one instance of national industrial action in the FDA's history.

"The FDA recognises the challenges that the Government faces in recruiting marketable skills, but a piecemeal policy of selling off pension rights and reneging on commitments to universal provision is not the way to do it.

"The proposals are further evidence that the Government's incoherent approach to public sector pay is coming apart at the seams. What the civil service and civil servants need is a radical rethink, a comprehensive strategy for all staff and an immediate reversal of the 1% cap."
Notes for editors
1. The FDA's response to the GCO consultation can be read here.

2. The FDA is the trade union for the UK's senior public servants and professionals at grade HEO and above. FDA membership includes more than 18,000 senior civil servants, diplomats, Government policy advisors, prosecutors, tax professionals, economists, solicitors and other professionals working across Government and the NHS.

3. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".

4. The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union and at www.fda.org.uk.

5. For further information contact:

Naomi Cooke, Assistant General Secretary, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07718 110590.
Kay Hender, Communications Manager, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07980 700747.
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