However, the main element of the offer, a 1 per cent revalorisation of the pay scales, was implemented in the September payroll with the union’s agreement.
It means that virtually all MOD staff will receive a 1 per cent increase in their basic salary.
“Revalorising the scales was the simplest and most equitable way of distributing the 1 per cent consolidated paybill increase permitted by government,” says Steve Jary, Prospect national secretary.
“However, this increase falls way below our claim and it looks wholly inadequate compared to the general increases in the wider economy.”
Furthermore, the union deemed the offer unacceptable because there is no money available to fund progression.
Prospect’s MOD members have not had progression for at least three years.
The MOD has agreed to address this in the future and Prospect hopes to work closely with the department on bringing back a progression system.
In its formal offer, MOD outlined a separate bonus scheme totaling 1.7 per cent of the paybill. This pot of money would be distributed to just the top 25 per cent of staff, based on a divisive and corrosive performance management system.
“The MOD has raided a pot of non-consolidated money, which was built up over many years,” explains Jary.
“Now, unilaterally and without justification, they’ve decided to deny bonus payments to more than two-thirds of its staff, who have earned those payments and kept the department going over a period of massive change and operational pressure.”
The department also plans to reintroduce Higher Starting Pay (HSP), which allows external recruits to start on salaries in excess of the minimum pay points for their scale.
This means thousands of external recruits will be earning more than experienced and long-serving staff in their teams. Again, Prospect finds this element of the offer unacceptable.
On a more positive note, there has been significant progress on Prospect’s agenda for specialist pay, such as those working in nuclear specialisms.
The big issue in MOD at the moment is performance management. “The MOD’s cack-handed approach to this defies belief,” said Jary.
As part of the corrupt performance management system, in 2013/14, five per cent of staff will be deemed to be unacceptable.
MOD is suggesting that those staff will be ineligible to receive any pay award on 1 August 2014, even if their performance has subsequently improved.
“This is wholly unacceptable to Prospect – not least because this would result in a permanent penalty for what was a temporary dip in performance, although, of course, we do not accept the premise that the bottom five per cent is an objective assessment.
“The upshot will be an enduring loss of pay and pension for anyone unfortunate enough to be in the five per cent in any one year. Given that five per cent will be chosen every year, this is likely to affect pretty much every member of staff at some point in their career,” said Jary.
Although this proposal does not form part of this year’s pay offer, the unions have escalated it to the Permanent Secretary and will be meeting him to debate it in the next few weeks.
“The fact is, forced ranking performance management systems are discredited and have proved to fail in the private sector. We need to focus our campaign on this issue because it has grave implications for members - not just your pay, but your career development and your job security - but also because it is winnable,” Jary concluded.