THE Public and Commercial Services union has described the government’s imposition of further cuts to redundancy terms as a ‘despicable act of bad faith’ and is considering a legal challenge.
Ministers have announced that detrimental changes to the civil service compensation scheme will be imposed tomorrow, despite the union only yesterday opening a consultative ballot of around 160,000 of its members who will be affected.
As by far the largest union in the civil service, PCS had asked the Cabinet Office to allow time to organise the ballot, which closes on 28 November, so its members could properly consider the final offer, but this request was refused.
The union had already been shut out of the negotiations after refusing to say in advance it agreed to the cuts in principle. The changes include cuts to the way redundancy payments are calculated, from four to three weeks’ pay for every year of service, and cuts to the overall caps on voluntary and compulsory redundancy pay.
Former Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude described previous cuts to the compensation scheme imposed by the coalition government in 2010 as ‘fair, affordable and sustainable’.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘This is a despicable act of bad faith against its own workforce by a government that, after shutting us out of talks, is now imposing more cuts so soon after saying the system was sustainable and affordable.
‘As by far the largest civil service union, we quite reasonably requested more time to be able to consult our members, so the refusal to allow that and now this imposition are an unnecessary and spiteful insult to them. We will be fighting these changes politically and we are considering legal action.’