Unions blast Ministry of Defence for misleading staff over pay

Unions blast Ministry of Defence for misleading staff over pay

The long-running saga of the 2019 pay award for members in the Ministry of Defence is continuing to sour industrial relations in the department.

MOD’s executive committee announced on 22 January that it had decided to revert to a one-year offer worth 2% rather than the alternative pay model worth, as a minimum, 7.2% over three years, which management put to the trade union side at the end of October 2019.

The department has two key bargaining groups – industrial and non-industrial trade unions.

The unions said from the outset that pay offers to both groups were interlinked – the department needed savings from the industrial pay pot and overtime budget to fund the overall increases.

MOD claimed that each bargaining unit could have different, fully funded outcomes.

Prospect negotiator Julie Flanagan said: “MOD’s recent decision to withdraw the offer from the industrial bargaining unit, is a clear vindication of our assertion that both pay offers were interlinked. The department needed the savings from one group to fund the increase for the whole workforce.”

Flanagan also expressed anger that the department has continually put out misleading information to its staff, including that it did not need a collective response from each bargaining unit to re-open negotiations.

“It was clearly understood that, due to the offer incorporating changes to contractual terms and conditions, it could not be implemented without the agreement of all the unions in each bargaining unit,” she said.

As Prospect and PCS had rejected the offer in late December, this should have been acknowledged and negotiations should have re-opened in early January.

“Contrary to what the permanent secretary told staff, the unions did not ask for the offer be split between the two bargaining units. We asked the department to honour the existing collective agreements covering the two groups.

“The offer they have now tabled does not honour those agreements as it covers all staff, and disproportionately affects people in the lower paid grades.”

At meetings, managers indicated that the latest offer included incremental progression, based on qualification and agreed by the Treasury. But incremental progression is not included in the offer

“The last thing we need is for inaccurate information to be given to staff in Department meetings and written updates, causing even more anger and confusion,” concluded Flanagan.

Prospect is urging all members and non-members in MOD to contact the permanent secretary and ask him to reopen pay negotiations on the basis of their tabled alternative proposal.

You can find more stories about the pay offer at https://members.prospect.org.uk/our-industries/defence/news