A new compensation scheme for civil servants came into effect today, with the government facing the continued threat of legal action by Whitehall’s biggest trade union.
The government said the new scheme gives extra protection to lower-paid employees and those closest to retirement, while setting a cap on redundancy pay for higher earners.
Four unions have accepted the new scheme, but the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) and the Prison Officers Association are still balloting their members.
Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said the new scheme was “fair” for civil servants and taxpayers, adding: “From the start, we said we would do everything we could to engage with the unions on the best way to reform a scheme which was unaffordable and way out of line with private sector and many public sector schemes. During the negotiating process, we listened very carefully to what the unions involved had to say and took many of their comments on board.
“I believe we now have a scheme which is fair, protects those who need the most support, addresses the inequities in the current system and is right for the long term.”
The PCS is recommending rejection of the new scheme, arguing it fails to protect the lowest paid, and is considering taking legal action against the government.
General secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This should be seen in the context of the government’s politically motivated cuts to public spending and represents a shameful and cynical attempt to make it easier and cheaper to sack its own workforce.
“We have always said we are prepared to negotiate to agree a new scheme and we are determined that these unfair cuts will not be imposed on our members. We have successfully defended our members’ rights in court and believe we have a very strong case to do so again.”