2016 Pay Review Begins
This bulletin sets out some of the context to the 2016 pay talks which began very recently between PC&C and PCS and other unions:
- The limit to the total pay bill increase set by Treasury.
- The Department’s public statements on consolidation of pay awards as a result of pay reform – when it was asking staff to move the new system – and pay progression.
The Treasury’s pay guidance:
Each year Treasury issues restrictive civil service pay “guidance” that severely limits the negotiating positions of management pay teams in the so-called “delegated bargaining units, including DCLG, thereby making agreement very difficult.
Members who are interested in the detail will find the “guidance” for 2016-17 at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/civil-service-pay-guidance-2016-to-2017/civil-service-pay-guidance-2016-to-2017.
1% Total paybill increase
At the moment PCS Voice would draw your attention to paragraph 2.1 which states, “There will be a limit of one per cent on the percentage Increase in remuneration cost for staff covered by each departmental remit. All elements [including allowances and remaining contractual pay progression – PCS Voice] which increase paybill cost must be included, except employer National Insurance contributions and employer pension contributions.”
The Treasury guidance also reminds us that it is the current government’s policy to limit public sector pay awards to an average pay award of 1 per cent for 4 years from 2016-17 onwards (see paragraph 1.3).
For 2016-17 at least, it is up to the delegated bargaining units, in negotiation with PCS and the smaller civil service unions, to decide how any award will be divided between staff and whether those awards should be fully consolidated.
Department’s public pay positions
(a) Consolidation of awards – Management’s 2014 pay reform assurance
In his Introduction to the 2014 management pay reform advice document, the then DCLG Permanent Secretary and Joint Head of the Civil Service told staff:
“The existing system is increasingly unfair for the majority of our staff, because honouring progression leaves us with little or no flexibility to give consolidated increases to the 53% of staff who are already at their grade maximum, or pay increases to members of staff who do not have contractual pay progression.” He was very clear that moving to a new pay system was a matter of fairness to such staff.
At paragraph 3 of the same document management advised staff that the “The pay system is in need of reform, for a variety of reasons…To make it fairer to all staff – at present too many of you do not receive any form of pay increase, reform will help to rectify this…” (The “Employee Briefing Pack – What It Means For Me”, https://intranet.communities.gov.uk/blog/2014/09/11/pay-reform-update/).
In the light of these pay reform statements, the subsequent management decision not to consolidate the 2015 pay awards for the many staff who were on the highest salary for their grade provoked a number of complaints to PCS representatives. Some members have asked if we will raise the 2014 management assurance in this year’s pay talks. The short answer is that we will. We are well aware that members do not wish to endure a second year of non-consolidated pay following a “reform” that was supposed to end such “unfairness”.
(b) Progression Pay
Management originally said pay progression would form part of the 2014 pay reform, then deferred that issue until 2015, and deferred it again until 2016 but with a public commitment in September 2015 to undertake serious pay progression design work and to report to staff.
However, there has been no such report and some members have expressed concern that management may have quietly dropped this important pay progression assurance.
We therefore stress that:
- Management told PCS in 2015 pay round that minima to maxima pay progression for all staff remained a management commitment.
- It has not told us that pay progression is no longer part of its agenda.
- Pay progression will form part of PCS’ agenda for the 2016 pay round.