Civil service union PCS has called a pay rise for civil servants of 2% to 3% “derisory” and an “insult to members who helped to keep the country running during the pandemic”.
The government announced its Civil Service Pay Remit Guidance yesterday (31 March), indicating that workers in government departments, non-ministerial departments, agencies and non-departmental public bodies would receive average pay awards of 2%, with a further 1% employers could use as targeted pay rises.
Heather Wheeler, parliamentary secretary, said the government wanted to attract the “best and brightest” to work in the civil service.
“Civil servants benefit from a competitive employment offer including access to one of the best pension schemes available amongst other benefits,” she said.
“In addition to this, our ambition is for the civil service to be the most inclusive employer in the country, offering opportunities and a chance to progress in challenging roles, delivering vital public services across the country.”
Civil service pay
The 1% uplift can be targeted towards “specific priorities”, which include workforce transformation and improvements, addressing pay anomalies, and adjustments to grades to account for the impact of the increased national living wage.
The PCS argued that the settlement fell “way short of inflation” and represents a pay-cut in real terms, particularly as workers face the rising cost of living and an increase to national insurance contributions.
It claimed members had already seen their living standard fall by 20% over the past decade as a result of sustained pay freezes and caps. The union believes the average member is worse off by £2,300 a year since 2011.
General secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This announcement is a massive insult to its staff from an uncaring government. Ministers are treating our members, many of whom are already struggling to get by, with the utmost contempt.
“Our members and millions of public sector workers are facing the single biggest cost-of-living crisis that any of us will have seen for decades. And instead of acknowledging that fact, the government is making derisory offers which amount to real-terms pay cuts at a time when bills are rocketing.
“We must now come together to consider as a union, and in the wider trade union movement, what action we are prepared to take to send the clearest possible message to the government that we are not prepared to accept this.”
Earlier this month, 97% of members voted in favour of making a national pay claim for a 10% pay rise, while 80% said they would be willing to take industrial action if their demands were not met.