HO/MB/81/14 advised members that formal talks with the Home Office over 2014 pay had finally begun on 25 September. Set against the backdrop of the Government’s 1% pay cap, a further three meetings were held at which point the Department advised that it had moved as far as it was going to go and was seeking to implement its offer with November salaries.
During the discussions, PCS were the only union to put forward a formal pay claim, which sought a 5% or £1,200 increase, based upon the claim that had been submitted by the PCS National Executive Committee (NEC) to the Cabinet Office. The negotiators pressed for the Home Office to go back to the Treasury to make a case for additional funding for pay, but the Department refused to do this. PCS argued that with only 1% available, any award should be based upon the principle of a flat rate and take into account the need to pay the Living Wage. This was based on the belief that such an approach is the only progressive way to maximise the amount of money going into the pockets of the people that need it most within the workforce, whilst underpinning that aspiration with a commitment to paying all staff a wage that they can live on, not just survive on.
Unfortunately, the other two unions felt unable to support the concept of a flat rate increase, arguing that any award should be percentage based; a concept that clearly favours those in receipt of higher earnings.
The Department also favoured a percentage based award (‘senior grades pay more taxes and receive less in credits’), adding that it also intended to introduce range shortening targeted at the HEO, Grade 7 and Grade 6 grades. PCS welcomed the aspiration of range shortening, but argued that with the restricted funds available, now was not the time to introduce such measures. Instead the focus should be on maximising the money that all staff would receive.
Whilst the negotiators were able to persuade the Department to revise its initial offer of 0.5% consolidated and 0.5% non-consolidated to 0.75% consolidated and 0.25% non-consolidated, they were not able to secure a full 1% consolidated increase for all.
The main elements of the pay offer are:
- Home Office spot rates will be increased by 0.75%.
- The salary range maximum of all Home Office grades will be increased by 0.75%.
- Home Office salary ranges will be reduced (where appropriate) to 19% by increasing the value of the minimum. By the use of compression, members will retain their relative position to the minimum, following the implementation of range shortening, i.e. if a member was 20% through the range before shortening they will be 20% through the range after shortening.
- Range balancing will apply where any Home Office salary range has one pay area range (i.e. National, London Provincial or London) of 15% or less, resulting in the other pay area ranges also being reduced to 15%, by increasing the minimum.
- Any Home Office salary range which does not benefit from range shortening, or range balancing, will have the minimum increased by 0.75%.
- Members not deriving any benefit from range shortening, or range balancing will receive at least a 0.75% consolidated increase.
- Any member who does not receive an additional 1% from the range shortening, or range balancing measures, will receive the shortfall up to 0.25% as a non-consolidated payment.
- Allowances such as ADP (Automatic Data Processing), Typing, LPA (Local Pay Addition) and RRA (Recruitment and Retention Allowance) will be withdrawn and paid with salary (on a mark-time basis where appropriate), after the application of the 2014 award.
- Any member appraised as unsatisfactory for the year 2013/14 and subject to the poor performance procedure will receive no pay increase at all.
The Group Executive Committee (GEC) discussed the offer yesterday (12 November) and unanimously agreed to recommendations to both reject the offer and not hold a membership ballot. The decision against holding a ballot being taken in view of the PCS National pay claim, which the offer clearly falls well short of.
The GEC also acknowledged concerns that it had been impossible to gauge the views of members towards the offer due to the confidential nature of the pay discussions. It was therefore agreed that local Branches should arrange to hold members’ meetings, in order to provide an opportunity for the offer to be discussed and seek members’ reactions to it. A request for facility time for these meetings will be made to the Department.
The unilateral withdrawal of allowances and the detrimental impact of the proposals particularly upon the PS grade was a further concern, which the GEC agreed needed to be subject to legal opinion.
It was reported to the GEC that letters had been sent to both the Permanent Secretary and the Home Secretary requesting their intervention in the negotiating process, but that neither had even responded to the Union’s request so far.
Clearly, the GEC recognised the situation would be difficult working within the Government’s unfair and unworkable 1% public sector pay cap. (At a time when it is planned to award MP’s a 9% increase after next years’ General Election.) Our main obstacle in discussions was the Treasury’s flawed pay restraint policy which unfairly targets public sector workers. But even accounting for these restraints, the Department has managed to produce a highly contentious and divisive offer.
In the face of a 1% pay cap, they have denied their lowest paid members of staff this full amount and used the money saved to increase the amounts given to the highest paid in the office. An AA (National) under this offer sees their annual salary increase by a meagre £121, but many senior grades will actually see their salary go up by that amount a month! PCS does not believe for example, that our Grade 7 and Grade 6 members will welcome the Department shining this spotlight upon them, when many are already struggling to raise the morale of their staff in the face of poor HR policies, increasing workloads and rising levels of stress.
Far from being ‘all in it together’, this offer is totally unacceptable and has the potential to play members off against each other, as a divisive toxic environment is created, pitting the haves against the have nots. How do the Home Office expect their senior leaders to retain respect when they address their staff, in the knowledge that their pay rise has been funded by raiding the pay packets of their low paid staff members?
It is important that members attend their local members’ meeting and provide us with your response to the Department’s offer. Look out for details in your Branch over the coming period.
An analysis of the impact of the pay offer and details of the new pay scales effective from 1 July 2014 can be found attached to this Members’ Briefing.
Impact of the pay offer
The Department claim that their proposals are geared to try to avoid ‘perceptions of unfairness’, but when one analyses the effect of the proposals upon the different grades, one could be forgiven for concluding that their objective was not met.
AA (including SGB2, Typist)
Spot rate will be increased by 0.75% consolidated. A further 0.25% non-consolidated will be payable.
PCS negotiators drew the Department’s attention to the fact that the proposed new salary for the AA grade in the National and London Provincial pay areas was actually below the Living Wage, (defined as £7.85/hour (National) and £9.15/hour (London) as announced on 3 November). The Department rejected the union’s position, arguing that based on a 37 hour week (National) and 36 hour week (London), members in these grades were being paid the Living Wage.
It is perhaps interesting to note that Chapter 9 of the Staff Handbook (Pay) states that, ‘Staff who work full time hours are expected to work 41 hours in the London area and 42 hours in the National area. These conditioned hours are inclusive of lunch breaks of one hour per day.’ The Department’s AHA guidance also makes reference to the notional working day as being 8.2 hours (London) and 8.4 hours (National). Using these figures, the hourly rate under the new proposals for an AA (National) will be £7.45 and £8.19 for an AA working in the London Provincial pay area. Is it fair for a Government department to pay its own workers less than the Living Wage?
At one point during the negotiations, the Department did suggest that some additional money (0.75% and 0.5% for the National and London Provincial areas respectively), could be made available to the AA grade, at the expense of the range shortening being ‘reduced’ to 19.25%. Unfortunately, this was not acceptable to the other two unions and the proposal was withdrawn.
Typing Allowances including Proficiency Payments and Skills Supplement will be withdrawn and added to salary (paid as mark-time where appropriate). The impact of this decision is that these members will not receive any further pay increase until their mark-time has been eroded. If the current Government pay restraint continues, this could take a number of years. Is this fair?
Finally, the SGB2 and Typing grades will be rationalised and incorporated within the AA grade.
AO/AIO (including SGB1, Personal Secretary)
Spot rate will be increased by 0.75% consolidated. A further 0.25% non-consolidated will be payable.
Arguably the most damaging Departmental proposals are those directed at the PS grade. Having applied the 2014 pay award, the PS pay scale will be frozen. The PS members will then be moved to the appropriate AO spot rate, with the excess salary being retained on mark-time. Any allowances payable such as LPA, Typing and RRA will then be converted to salary, thereby increasing the value of the mark-time still further, with the result being that a large number of these members will not receive another pay increase before they retire! According to the Department, this was fair.
The SGB1 grade will be rationalised and incorporated within the AO grade.
EO/IO (including Accountant, Support Manager 2, Senior Personal Secretary)
The minimum of the EO/IO National, London and London Provincial will increase by 0.83%, 0.758% and 2.48% respectively due to range balancing.
The EO Accountant London Provincial minimum will increase by 1.44% due to range balancing, whilst the National and London minimums will increase by 0.75%.
The Support Manager 2 grade will see the minimum increase by 0.75%.
The SPS grade will suffer the same fate as the PS grade in that once the 2014 pay award has been applied, the pay scale will be frozen. The SPS members will then be moved to the appropriate EO pay scale. Any Skill Supplement payment, LPA and RRA will then be consolidated to their salary. Fortunately, the headroom provided by the EO salary range means that none of the members affected will be placed on mark-time, thereby avoiding the difficulties being faced by their PS colleagues.
HEO/CIO (including Accountant, Auditor)
The minimum of the HEO/CIO National, London and London Provincial will increase by 1.22%, 2.86% and 4.88% respectively due to range shortening.
The HEO Accountant London and London Provincial minimum will increase by 1.84% and 1.74% respectively due to range shortening, whilst the minimum of the National equivalent will increase by 0.75%.
The HEO Auditor MIIA/CCAB minimum for London and London Provincial will increase by 1.84% and 1.74% respectively due to range shortening, whilst the minimum of the National equivalent will increase by 0.75%.
The HEO Auditor PIIA minimum for London will increase by 1.84% due to range shortening, whilst the minimum for National and London Provincial will increase by 0.75%.
SEO/HMI (including Accountant, Auditor)
The minimum of the SEO/HMI National and London Provincial will increase by 1.31% and 1.87% respectively due to range balancing, whilst the minimum for the London equivalent will increase by 0.75%.
The SEO Accountant National and London Provincial minimum will increase by 1.31% and 1.87% respectively due to range balancing, whilst the minimum for the London equivalent will increase by 0.75%.
The minimum for the SEO Auditor MIIA/CCAB London Provincial will increase by 1.87% due to range balancing, whilst the minimum for the National and London equivalents will increase by 0.75%.
The Grade 7 National, London and London Provincial minimum will increase by 3.05%, 1.45% and 2.51% respectively due to range shortening.
The minimum for the Grade 6 National, London and London Provincial will increase by 3.03%, 1.51% and 2.39% respectively due to range shortening.
|Home Office Grade||30th June 2014 Spot rate||1st July 2014 spot rate||increase|
|AA London Provincial||£17,333||£17,463||0.75%|
|SGB2 London Provincial||£17,333||£17,463||0.75%|
|Typist London Provincial||£17,333||£17,463||0.75%|
|AO London Provincial||£20,738||£20,894||0.75%|
|AIO London Provincial||£20,738||£20,894||0.75%|
|SGB1 London Provincial||£20,754||£20,910||0.75%|
|*The current HO max includes the £250 payment in 2010/11 and 11/12 where applicable|
|Home Office Grade||1st July 2013 New HO Min||1st July 2013||1st July 2014||1st July 2014|
|New HO Max||Current range length||HO Min||HO Max||New Range length|
|EO Accountant National||£26,514||£30,212||13.95%||£26,713||£30,439||13.95%|
|EO Accountant London||£33,545||£37,889||12.95%||£33,797||£38,173||12.95%|
|EO Accountant London Provincial||£29,308||£33,937||15.79%||£29,732||£34,192||15.00%|
|EO London Provincial||£23,206||£27,146||16.98%||£23,782||£27,350||15.00%|
|IO London Provincial||£23,206||£27,146||16.98%||£23,782||£27,350||15.00%|
|Support Manager 2 National||£24,199||£25,945||7.22%||£24,380||£26,140||7.22%|
|Support Manager 2 London||£28,808||£30,616||6.28%||£29,024||£30,846||6.28%|
|Support Manager 2 London Provincial||£25,169||£27,422||8.95%||£25,358||£27,628||8.95%|
|Typing Manager National||£22,770||£25,945||13.94%||£22,941||£26,140||13.94%|
|Typing Manager London||£27,945||£31,563||12.95%||£28,155||£31,800||12.95%|
|CIO London Provincial||£27,353||£33,887||23.89%||£28,690||£34,141||19.00%|
|HEO Accountant National||£30,979||£36,584||18.09%||£31,211||£36,858||18.09%|
|HEO Accountant London||£37,486||£45,091||20.29%||£38,176||£45,429||19.00%|
|HEO Accountant London Provincial||£33,850||£40,678||20.17%||£34,439||£40,983||19.00%|
|HEO Auditor MIIA/CCAB National||£31,937||£37,716||18.09%||£32,177||£37,999||18.09%|
|HEO Auditor MIIA/CCAB London||£38,253||£46,017||20.30%||£38,960||£46,362||19.00%|
|HEO Auditor MIIA/CCAB London Provincial||£34,543||£41,514||20.18%||£35,147||£41,825||19.00%|
|HEO Auditor PIIA National||£28,564||£33,731||18.09%||£28,778||£33,984||18.09%|
|HEO Auditor PIIA London||£34,213||£41,155||20.29%||£34,843||£41,464||19.00%|
|HEO Auditor PIIA London Provincial||£31,200||£37,128||19.00%||£31,434||£37,406||19.00%|
|HEO London Provincial||£27,353||£33,887||23.89%||£28,690||£34,141||19.00%|
|HMI London Provincial||£35,388||£41,150||16.28%||£36,051||£41,459||15.00%|
|SEO Accountant National||£36,250||£41,922||15.65%||£36,727||£42,236||15.00%|
|SEO Accountant London||£43,011||£49,330||14.69%||£43,334||£49,700||14.69%|
|SEO Accountant London provincial||£39,168||£45,545||16.28%||£39,901||£45,887||15.00%|
|SEO Auditor MIIA/CCAB National||£38,135||£43,659||14.49%||£38,421||£43,986||14.50%|
|SEO Auditor MIIA/CCAB London||£45,251||£50,853||12.38%||£45,590||£51,234||12.38%|
|SEO Auditor MIIA/CCAB London Provincial||£39,168||£45,545||16.28%||£39,901||£45,887||15.00%|
|SEO London Provincial||£35,388||£41,150||16.28%||£36,051||£41,459||15.00%|
|Grade 7 National||£45,626||£55,540||21.73%||£47,022||£55,957||19.00%|
|Grade 7 London||£51,142||£61,285||19.83%||£51,886||£61,745||19.00%|
|Grade 7 London Provincial||£48,107||£58,250||21.08%||£49,317||£58,687||19.00%|
|Grade 6 National||£55,904||£68,037||21.70%||£57,603||£68,547||19.00%|
|Grade 6 London||£61,624||£73,892||19.91%||£62,560||£74,446||19.00%|
|Grade 6 London Provincial||£58,588||£70,857||20.94%||£59,990||£71,388||19.00%|