Civil service unions call for Judicial Review into pay

The three civil service unions have called for a Judicial Review into the government’s below inflation pay remit guidance.

The FDA, PCS and Prospect have instructed lawyers to write to the Minister for the Cabinet Office David Lidington to request the government withdraws the civil service pay guidance and undertakes a process of appropriate consultation.

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.

In a joint statement, the unions said: “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.”

FDA general secretary Dave Penman said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly. The involvement of the courts in industrial relations practice is usually a sign of failure, that is certainly the case here. We have tried every reasonable approach to engage with ministers sensibly but have been rebuffed at every turn.

“They must now recognise that they have one last chance to do what every progressive employer should: engage those that represent their staff in a meaningful way for mutual benefit. If not, we remain ready and willing to act.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka added: “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.”

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