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The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) has joined fellow civil service unions FDA and Prospect, calling for a Judicial Review over the government’s below inflation pay remit guidance.

Ministers issued the pay remit guidance of 1-1.5% last month and refused to consult the civil unions properly over pay despite promises to the contrary.

Now the PCS is pursuing legal action against the government with other civil service unions in an unprecedented show of unity.

All three unions have already written to the government demanding that the pay remit guidance is withdrawn but they refused, despite clear evidence there was not a proper consultation as well as unions receiving an apology from ministers for the process.

In a joint statement today from all three unions, it says: “We wrote to Elizabeth Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the minister responsible at the Treasury for the pay guidance, following the refusal of the Minister for the Cabinet Office to withdraw the guidance and commit to a meaningful consultation process for 2018. In the letter we requested an urgent meeting with Elizabeth Truss but we have not received a response.

We cannot accept the lack of meaningful consultation. Accordingly, our lawyers have today, written to the minister for the Cabinet Office to request that they withdraw the civil service pay guidance and undertake a process of appropriate consultation, and in the absence of an appropriate response we will be issuing proceedings for Judicial Review.

As General Secretaries, we have agreed to continue working as closely as possible on these issues for the common good of our members. Whilst each union will clearly have to determine their own objectives and strategy for delivering them, we are committed to pursuing this matter together.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka: “Our members have run out of patience with this government. They have had enough of ministers making false promises of lifting the pay cap and having a meaningful consultation, only to be told the de-facto pay cap will remain.

“Theresa May is treating hardworking government staff in the civil service and related areas, like second class workers. She lifted the pay cap for NHS and local government workers but our members are left languishing on a derisory pay cap.

“The judicial review is an unprecedented show of unity from the civil service unions and shows how angry people are.

“We are also balloting our members for industrial action and if the government does not address our 5% pay claim, we will proceed with sustained industrial action if voted for by our members.”

The PCS is balloting 140,000 members in the civil service and related areas. The ballot closes on 23rd July.

The biggest strike ballot of the year is being launched today which could see potentially up to 150,000 workers walk out this summer.
Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) members across the civil service and related areas will be balloted until July 23rd with the union recommending a huge yes vote.
The union is seeking a strong mandate for strike action in order to negotiate a good pay rise for its members.

At the moment, ministers have kept in place a de-facto 1 percent pay cap for our members in key government departments whereas they have lifted the pay cap for NHS staff and some local government workers.
In recent talks cabinet office officials admitted to union negotiators that they were using 2015 spending budgets to calculate pay, meaning that only a 1 percent pay rise would be available to civil service staff, unless individual government departments found savings through job cuts and other ‘efficiencies.’
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Our members have been singled out amongst public sector workers. The de- facto one percent pay cap remains in place and we are absolutely disgusted at the government for misleading the union.
“Ministers gave us assurances earlier in the year that hard working government staff would be rewarded for all the issues they have had to face up to.
“Instead they are being offered a paltry one percent pay increase when they have had to cope with job cuts, Brexit and issues as difficult as Universal Credit and the Windrush scandal.”
Mr Serwotka went on to add that the union was balloting its members until July 23rd where it expects an overwhelming ‘Yes’ vote for action.
He added: “We will use the mandate we get from our members to press the government for a meaningful pay rise. But they should be in no doubt that if they fail to deliver the goods, we will deliver the biggest strike of the year in summer.
“Our members feel they have no other option left to them. We want a negotiated settlement but we are prepared for a period of sustained action if the government doesn’t offer its hardworking staff a meaningful pay rise.”
If strike action goes ahead, it will be the biggest walkout by the union since 2011 when it was involved in a pensions’ dispute.

THE FIREFIGHTERS' DILEMMA

TUCG: MARK SERWOTKA ON THE FIGHT AGAINST AUSTERITY

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BOOK: COST OF LIVING CRISIS

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By MIchael Calderbank

Foreword by Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary

 

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Based on research commissioned by the TUCG, the book examines why costs have risen for all items of expenditure, ranging from housing and child care to food and transport. He makes practical proposals on how these costs can be reduced. He also delivers an uncompromising message to the leaders of all mainstream Westminster Parties: it is time to end the politics of austerity, an ideological project to cut the size of the state permanently.