Press releases

Government attacks civil service workers’s rights

7th July 2010

The Government intends to cut the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS) - affecting hundreds of thousands of public sector workers – by scrapping the requirement to obtain the agreement of staff representatives before changes can be made to accrued rights.

The provocative written ministerial statement published on 6th July justifies the drastic action based on the “fiscal circumstances facing the national economy”. Yet reports over the weekend revealed that Chief Executives of FTSE 100 companies have seen their remuneration rise by 5% to an average of £3.1m and that over the past 10 years chief executive remuneration has quadrupled. This is on top of the Emergency Budget which redistributed wealth from the poor to big business as £11bn of cuts to welfare were used to fund a 4% cut in corporation tax.

Low paid public sector workers should not be forced to pay for the financial crisis whilst the real culprit - the city - gets off scot-free, when civil service pay lags behind comparable jobs in the private sector.

Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary, said:

“It seems this government has not learned the lesson from its predecessor which did not agree a new settlement with us and was defeated in the courts. Now this government is seeking to change the law to make it possible to rob staff of accrued rights without union agreement. By attacking our trade union rights to consent to such key changes, the government is showing contempt for trade unions and its own staff.
“Our members will rightly question why their pay, pensions and terms and conditions are under attack when the Emergency Budget gave £24 billion in tax breaks to business. If this government attacks our members’ terms and tears up their rights then it is inevitable there will be industrial action.
“The Government should not seek confrontation over the Civil Service Compensation Scheme but commit to finding an agreement.”

John McDonnell MP, LRC Chair, said:

“By threatening legislation to impose cuts in the civil servants’ redundancy scheme the Coalition Government is clearly seeking to provoke strikes in the public sector. The Coalition is obviously following the Thatcher route of provoking an early trade union dispute and targeting particular unions in order to prevent others standing up against the cuts planned in jobs and services. They also want to use public sector disputes as the excuse to bring forward a new raft of anti-trade union laws. This Government is rapidly becoming the Coalition of cuts and conflict.” 

LRC conference 2009 voted to defend the CSCS, which sets redundancy pay for civil service workers. At a time when the coalition government is threatening 600,000 public sector job cuts, reducing redundancy payments is an even greater attack on workers’ rights.

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