The government has introduced a new framework of principles to underpin public sector pay negotiations, including a firm commitment to eliminate the gender gap.
The principles, which have been agreed by the government and unions in the Public Services Forum, are intended to form the basis of all Pay Review Body and collective bargaining remits.
The principles include:
- Full compliance with equal pay legislation. The framework states that “in order to achieve this, equal pay audits should be undertaken and, where there is evidence of inequality in pay and conditions of employment, action should be taken to eliminate discrimination”
- The monitoring, communication and evaluation of the value of reward packages to promote recruitment and retention
The development of flexible retirement options to promote workforce diversity
- The potential to develop incentive pay schemes.
The launch of the pay and reward principles follows the recent extension across the public sector of the code of practice on contracting out public services, designed to prevent the emergence of two-tier workforces.
Pensions minister Alan Johnson told trade unions that the government would create a proper process to negotiate public sector pensions provision, after unions cancelled a sector-wide strike.
The strike was called to protest at plans to raise the retirement age for civil servants to 65 and proposals to replace the existing final-salary pension scheme with a payment based on average career earnings.
Johnson said that the government and unions should move on “in the right spirit of consultation and negotiation… to ensure pension provision is secure and sustainable for a future where increased life expectancy will put ever greater pressure on pension schemes”.