Civil service union attacks No 10 for not offering cost of living payment

A major union has criticized No 10 for failing to offer civil servants the lump sum cost-of-living payments that other public sector workers such as teachers and health workers have been promised.

Prospect union general secretary Mike Clancy said as members prepared to strike that the unions had received “every indication” that the pay offer for civil servants would follow the same pattern as others in the public sector.

One-time lump sums have been offered to teachers, railway workers and health personnel to help deal with cost-of-living pressures.

However, Clancy said this idea appeared to have been “abruptly” dismissed when the Cabinet Office tabled a payment offer last month. Instead, all civil servants were offered just 4.5% in 2023/24 for most civil servants at a time when inflation is in double digits, after 2-3% the year before.

“We speculate that this was a decision in number 10 communicated to the Cabinet Office and it’s incredible because you can’t find a logical reason to do this,” Clancy said. “We are not going to ignore the fact that everything indicated that there was more available, but in the end the civil servants were treated worse than the others. Because? Someone has to answer this question and explain.”

Although a lump sum was never formally offered to civil servant unions, several sources said it was generally understood that a cash payment would be made. But when Jeremy Quin, a Cabinet Office minister, presented the salary offer, he seemed embarrassed that it did not match proposed deals for other public sector workers.

Potential members are now ready to strike on Wednesday, after a previous day of action on March 15 and continued industrial work to rule action and an overtime ban since. It is the largest industrial action by the union in over a decade, encompassing specialist, technical, professional, managerial and scientific staff at Whitehall agencies such as the Met Office, Health and Safety Executive and Natural England.

It joins other strikes among officials of the PCS union, whose 130,000 members have staged repeated labor actions for months. The union is now back to voting for more strike action.

Some of your members at HMRC are also scheduled to strike on Wednesday and other days this month and in June.

Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary, said: “Our members at HMRC are the latest in a long line of PCS members being forced to go on strike to fight for the pay increase PCS members deserve.

“At HMRC alone, almost one in three employees now receive the national minimum wage. At DWP, one in five employees has to claim benefits at work. These people are the government’s own workforce, suffering the consequences of year after consecutive year of meager wage increases that leave tens of thousands in financial crisis.

“We will not accept being left behind. We will not accept being treated like the poor relation. PCS members are determined to keep up the pressure until the government improves its offer to us.”

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