Civil servants lobby against redundancy cuts

Civil servants lobby against redundancy cuts

The government’s attack on levels of redundancy compensation for civil servants is unlawful, unconstitutional and unnecessary, professional civil servants will tell MPs.

Prospect members will be among hundreds of representatives from four unions who will lobby their MPs against the Superannuation Bill 2010-11, which is being rushed through the current two-week session of Parliament. The four unions are Prospect, the FDA, GMB and Unite.

The lobby, taking place on Thursday 9 September, will be preceded by a photo opportunity at 12.00 noon outside St Stephen’s entrance and starts at 12.30pm in Committee Room 14. It will be addressed by Tessa Jowell, shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, and Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington. Paul Noon and Jonathan Baume, General Secretaries of Prospect and the FDA, and representatives from Unite and GMB will also speak.

The Superannuation Bill received its second reading on Tuesday 7 September with a government majority of 82. It would cut the compensation payable to 640,000 civil and public servants who lose their jobs by two thirds, and in some cases by 75%. The new terms would be the worst in the public sector.

The four unions want the Government to negotiate a new scheme, based on the terms they agreed with the previous government in February 2010. Those terms were rejected by the largest civil service union, PCS, which won a High Court ruling in May that the scheme could not be amended without the agreement of all the unions.

The unions have also challenged the status of the Bill as a Money Bill. They have asked the Speaker of the House to refuse to approve it on the grounds that it does not raise or protect revenue, as is standard procedure for Money Bills. The Bill now goes to a scrutiny committee for analysis before going to the Lords in October.

Dai Hudd, Deputy General Secretary, said: “The Government is holding a gun to our heads by pushing this Bill through Parliament while claiming to be willing to negotiate a new scheme with staff. The Minister admitted yesterday it was a ‘blunt instrument’ to bring negotiations to a conclusion.

“We ask all MPs to consider whether this is either fair or justified. A new scheme is within our grasp if only the Government is prepared to compromise.

We appeal in particular to the many Lib Dem MPs who opposed the previous government’s cuts to the scheme as too severe. The coalition’s cuts are twice as tough and coming on top of attacks on pay, jobs and pensions, will demoralise the very staff the government needs to carry out its agenda.”

The briefing The Case Against the Money Bill can be downloaded from the library.