UK ministers have offered junior and mid-ranking civil servants a one-time payment of £1,500 in a bid to end a long-running dispute over pay and jobs.
In a letter seen by the Financial Times, Simon Case, the UK’s top mandarin and cabinet secretary, told his civil service colleagues on Friday that the lump sum was “in recognition of his public service and the challenges of the cost of living”.
The agreement would also include a freeze on current severance pay levels until 2025 and a commitment to avoid mandatory redundancies “where possible,” Case said in his letter, which was signed by Alex Chisholm, permanent secretary of the Cabinet Office.
The proposals come as ministers push to end the biggest wave of public sector strikes in decades, in which hundreds of thousands of civil servants have walked out demanding higher wages amid the crisis. cost of living crisis.
Case’s letter followed meetings on Friday between Cabinet Office Minister Jeremy Quin and the leaders of the three main civil service unions, on the basis of the pay increases outlined above.
In April, the government laid out plans to allow Whitehall departments to give staff an average pay increase of 4.5 percent, with a further 0.5 percent increase for the lowest-paid workers. But the Public and Commercial Services union, Prospect and the FDA criticized the deal as significantly worse than deals offered to other public sector employees.
Based on official civil service workforce data up to March last year, the £1,500 one-off payment for the 2023-24 fiscal year would apply to approximately 400,000 full-time employees and 100,000 part-time employees, who are online to receive a prorated payment. Pay for senior officials is determined by a different process.
Officials said the proposed payment took into account taxpayer fairness and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s promise to halve inflation this year.
In response to the offer, the PCS said on Friday that the Cabinet Office had “listened and responded to our members’ concerns after . . . the largest industrial action in union history in this dispute.” It added that its national executive committee would meet on June 5 to discuss the deal.
Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect, who last week called off a strike scheduled for next week to allow for talks with Quin, he also welcomed the deal.
It said that while strikes by its members had “been critical in getting to this point”, the offer “in principle addresses the three central issues in this dispute” and would be consulted.
Meanwhile Dave PenmanThe secretary general of the FDA, which represents senior civil servants, said the union’s concerns had been “heard” after it threatened to vote members to hold national wage strikes for the first time in 40 years.
Describing the lump sum as “a significant amount of money”, he said: “For the first time in many years, we have achieved a tangible and positive result for the civil service that compares well with the rest of the public sector.”
Penman added that the FDA’s executive committee would meet on June 8 to formally consider the package and its slow vote for industry action.
Quin said he was “determined that civil servants are fairly rewarded for the vital work they do across the country” and pleased with the unions’ “constructive engagement”.