Civil service pay claim

Civil service pay claim

A scientist, a museum curator and an environmental impact assessor were present at the Treasury when unions lodged the first joint national pay claim for 500,000 civil servants.

The three professionals, all members of Prospect, were on hand from 12 noon to 12.30pm to illustrate the damaging impact of current government pay policy towards its own employees. Members of the Public and Commercial Services union will also be present.

The three Prospect members’ cases will highlight:

  • the scale of pay gap differentials between core departments and their agencies
  • low rates of pay for professionals
  • the lack of pay coherence caused by repeated machinery of government changes.
Dai Hudd, Prospect Assistant General Secretary, said:

"These injustices are not only unfair to our members, they mitigate against government’s ability to modernise the civil service through functional change. The anomalies of moving between a myriad different pay systems as changes take place are demotivating for those affected and highly inefficient to manage.

"Prospect and PCS are calling for pay and conditions to be harmonised across the civil service. This joint claim is the first step of an agenda for change that unions will be pressing whatever government is elected in the General Election."

Civil service national pay claim: case studies

Ray East has spent his whole career in the scientific civil service and has suffered at first hand, and more than once, the vagaries of the delegated pay system.

In 2001 Ray was a Senior Scientific Officer in the Home Office, where he worked on emergency planning, and was paid on an enhanced scale for senior scientists. He was transferred in June 2001 as a result of a machinery of government change to the Cabinet Office where, although he continued to do similar work, he had to be placed on a separate personal pay scale due to the absence of any appropriate established scale within the Cabinet Office.

After a further machinery of government change, he was moved from the Cabinet Office to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) in June 2003, again doing similar work. But it was not possible to reach agreement on harmonising Ray’s terms and conditions because the maximum of his pay scale, which he attained before leaving the Home Office, is £3,000 higher than the maximum in ODPM.

Ray is faced with the option of remaining on mark-time pay until his retirement or moving to ODPM scales without knowing whether he will be eligible for future pay increases, which if made would be non-consolidated and would not increase his pension.

Alan Slade shows how low pay impacts on professional staff.

Alan is a Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Prehistory & Europe at the British Museum. He has two diplomas and a degree and is currently studying for an MA. In addition to six years’ experience in his current post, Alan has 16 years experience as a field archaeologist and two years as a research assistant for the museum.

For his wealth of knowledge and experience, Alan is paid £14,800.

It is an indictment that his position is typical of professional staff at the British Museum and the wider heritage sector.

Marie Pendle is an Environmental Impact Assessor at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (CEFAS) in Burnham-on-Crouch.

Marie is in day-to-day contact with officials in core DEFRA to provide scientific assessment of all projects requiring licensing under the Food and Environment Protection Act.

She has worked at CEFAS for 18 years, having started as an Assistant Scientific Officer and progressed through an HNC in Applied Biology and then a post-graduate level Advanced Diploma in Environmental Decision Making.

Marie’s current salary is £23,078, on a scale that runs from £19,607 to £28,048. For an equivalent job in core DEFRA the scale starts £4,500 higher, at £24,014, and runs to £29,120. In London, which is within reasonable commuting distance for Marie, she would be on a DEFRA scale from £26,880 to £32,698.