The government’s proposed cuts to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS) are unfair.
The CSCS was reformed as recently as 2010, with the then Minister for the Civil Service describing the deal agreed between the Coalition Government and the civil service trade unions as ‘fair for civil servants and other taxpayers’ and ‘right for the long term.’ A National Audit Office report found that the agreement had made 40-50 per cent savings compared to the previous CSCS terms and civil servants were promised that this was a deal that would last a generation. It is extremely worrying that the government is seeking to further reduce pay and conditions for dedicated civil servants so soon after the existing terms were agreed.
These proposals come at a time when the government is looking to cut the number of civil servants following the 2015 Spending Review.
The PCS and Prospect unions say that the government is imposing preconditions on negotiations and could unilaterally implement the changes. Terms and conditions are a bond of trust between employer and employee: they should be changed in partnership, not imposed. The government should not unilaterally override and undermine agreements it has made with employer representatives.
I will continue to monitor this issue and to press the government to treat civil servants with the respect they deserve.