Summary: Department respond to PCS over Pay 2018 and signal intention to impose offer in October pay.
Following the completion of negotiations over pay in August this year, PCS were presented with a final offer on 30 August. We have engaged in a month of member engagement over this offer and we responded to the department on 28 September.
Our feedback from members was overwhelmingly that the offer was nowhere near what we had set out to achieve, given our original demands of £1,200 or 5% for all members. The final offer can be summarised as 1.5%, made up of varying degrees of consolidated and non-consolidated amounts.
In our response to the department we acknowledged that the lack of funding from the Treasury and the restrictions in the government’s pay policy meant that there was not enough money for the department to make into an acceptable offer. However, we believed that the department should in this situation approach the Treasury for further funding, without strings, which disappointingly they have refused to do.
On some of the specifics; our request for those on legacy allowances to be treated equally with their colleagues was rejected. However, it should be noted after years of a pay freeze PCS have moved the department to pay consolidated increases where members wages had fallen below their pay grade range and non-consolidated increases within pay band ranges. While we achieved movement to increase the amount paid to AA’s and AO’s request for all payments at AA and AO levels to be consolidated was dismissed. Despite raising an anomaly where anyone promoted from AO to EO in London would start over the minimum (due to receiving 10% for promotion), the department maintained they did not have the funds to address this issue.
Our concerns regarding the level of apprenticeship pay were again rebuffed, claiming apprentices were not required to work at AO level. This a statement which will mystify both apprentices and their managers! However, we have received a commitment that the Leadership, Learning, Capability and Talent team will be doing some further work on Apprenticeships during the autumn and PCS will be involved in this.
On overtime, many members provided feedback that they were surprised that the department would be using available money to fund increases to this. The overwhelming majority wanted the money to be used to fund the overall basic pay pot, so that the many could benefit rather than the few who completed overtime.
In concluding their letter to us the department have not made any further concessions to their original draft which members will have had sight of on the intranet. We are disappointed with this stance, and the department have indicated that despite PCS, FDA and Prospect rejecting the offer they will be imposing it in October pay, backdated to July.
As we approach Brexit, it’s clear that the work we do in this department is going to be critical. Instead of trying to create a motivated, and content workforce they are insulting us with a derisory pay award. Let’s not forget that here in the Home Office nearly 90% of us indicated that we were willing to take action over pay on a 41% turnout.
This means that there are thousands of us that have had enough of below inflation rises that mean our real rates of pay have fallen behind others. Whilst this year we have not met the threshold for a statutory ballot to take action, our job now should be to convince our colleagues of the importance of voting in statutory ballots to place us in a better position next year.
Members will be aware that PCS, along with the FDA and Prospect, have lodged a judicial review against the government and their lack of proper meaningful consultation on the 2018 Pay Remit Guidance. This JR has been heard in the High Court and we are awaiting the result of this, expected in the next few weeks. The results and implications of this are as yet not known.
Looking forward to Pay 2019, it’s likely that we will again face similar restraint as we have this year. Despite the Tory promise of an end to austerity, this rings as hollow as the promise of the end of the public sector pay cap this year. It seems very likely we will again face a remit guidance instructing departments to inflict below inflation pay offers. The important thing is that we are readier than this year with our response and that if we decided to ballot we will be confident of delivering a mandate that breaches the anti-trade union act thresholds.
For 2019 the department have signalled their intention to engage in exploratory discussions about what they are calling “reward refresh”. To secure more money from the Treasury, departments must make business efficiency cases that justify breaking the pay cap. Of course, we await their proposals, however we note the example in the Ministry of Justice, where a wide ranging “modernising employment proposition” involving cuts to terms and conditions, increased working week and increase flexibility has been rejected by members of PCS by over 93% on a 74% turnout.
Clearly as we look forward there has never been a more important time to be a member of PCS and encourage your colleagues to become members. We need to build our strength as we look to deliver successes in 2019 and defend and improve our terms and conditions through any negotiations.