UK civil servants strike despite government’s improved pay offer

Strikes by civil servants across the United Kingdom are set to continue despite the government presenting an improved pay offer. Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union will participate in industrial action on Tuesday in Northern Ireland and Wednesday in Wales. The PCS has stated that the stoppages will persist as they evaluate the “significant concessions” related to pay, redundancy terms, and job security. The government has claimed that their offer is the largest for civil servants in two decades.

Union members have been taking action for months, with three national walkouts occurring. Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, previously stated: “Ministers need to resolve the dispute by putting money on the table.” To break the deadlock, the government presented a new offer on Friday. Union leaders revealed that civil servants below senior grades were offered a lump sum of £1,500 for 2022/23.

The PCS welcomed the deal in a statement on Monday evening, calling it the “first time in our union’s history” that members had secured “considerable extra money for members.” However, they also announced that “planned targeted action” would proceed this month. Members in the Northern Ireland Office will stage a three-day walkout starting Tuesday, while Audit Wales and the National Museum of Wales will be affected from Wednesday.

The PCS added that members at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency will participate in a 15-day strike beginning June 11, and driving examiners in 286 test centres across England and Wales will take action from June 15. Any re-ballots for additional action have been postponed, pending the outcome of talks with the government at the end of the month.

Initially, officials demanded a 10% pay increase to address the rising cost of living, but the government argued that such demands would cost an “unaffordable £2.4bn.” The PCS described the latest offer as a “significant achievement… which, while short of our full claim, puts money in members’ pockets and brings parity of treatment with other public sector workers.”

On Friday, the government announced that Civil Service pay guidance allowed departments to award a 4.5% pay increase for staff, with the potential for an additional 0.5% increase for lower-paid staff. Cabinet Office minister Jeremy Quin stated that “constructive engagement” with the unions enabled the department to make the £1,500 payment offer. He added, “This is both fair to the taxpayer and a recognition of the financial pressures civil servants have faced over the last year.”

World News

Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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