Civil servants name April 5th for next walk-out over pay, pensions and terms and conditions
PCS members have announced a second strike date in their three-month programme of action.
Almost 250,000 members who work in government departments and its related bodies will strike on Wednesday and also hold a half-day walkout on Friday 5 April, the end of the tax year. This action will be followed by a week of campaigning against tax avoidance and evasion.
The union has asked for talks over cuts to pay, pensions and terms and conditions, but the government has refused to negotiate.
The news comes as ministers are being urged by the Treasury to scrap decades-old civil service pay arrangements that allow staff to progress from minimum starting levels up a series of pay bands within their grade.
In its ‘pay remit’ – which sets the framework for departmental pay, and this year confirms a cap of 1% – the Treasury accepts that such incremental progression payments are a legal entitlement.
Yet it goes on to encourage departments to submit plans to remove this contractual right, saying the Treasury “will consider proposals for flexibility in relation to the 1% if they are linked to substantive plans to do so”. If agreed, these would apply from 2015.
This would end a system of civil service pay that goes back decades and is designed to help recruit and retain staff.
While confirming that there will be no “centrally imposed” move to local pay in the civil service, the remit also says the pay cap must include both basic pay and progression payments this year, meaning actual pay rises are likely to be substantially lower than 1%.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “We will quickly follow up our budget day strike with a walkout on 5 April and step up our campaigning for the government to take serious action against wealthy tax dodgers.
“With polls showing people are less likely to support government policies if George Osborne’s name is attached, it is clear the public have lost faith in austerity and want an alternative.”
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