Civil Servants Launch New Wave Of Strike Action After Rejecting 'Insulting' Pay Offer

Officials warn of a "prolonged and damaging dispute" unless ministers come up with more cash.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union on the picket line in Whitehall, London.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union on the picket line in Whitehall, London.
James Manning via PA Wire/PA Images

Fresh strikes are to be held by civil servants after unions dismissed the latest pay offer by the government.

The Prospect union said its members will walk out on May 10 and June 7, with others set to follow suit after talks broke down.

Ministers this morning offered a basic rise of 4.5% for next year, plus a further 0.5% for the lowest earners.

But speaking afterwards, Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said civil servants were being treated differently from other public sector workers.

He said: “We have repeatedly offered to engage in pay talks aimed at resolving this dispute, provided they followed a comparable approach to that employed elsewhere in the public service.

“By publishing the pay control, the government has abandoned its staff to further real terms cuts and to remain at the back of the public service pay queue.

“This industrial action was entirely avoidable, but the government’s failure to bring anything to the table has made it inevitable and it leaves hard-working civil servants with no option but to protest over their treatment.

“Prospect members are the specialists upon whom all aspects of effective government depend.

“If the government doesn’t change its stance, then it will face a recruitment and retention crisis that degrades the civil service and the public services we all rely on.”

Clancy was joined at the meeting by Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union.

In a letter to members, seen by HuffPost UK, he said: “We both pleaded with [the minister] to pull back from the edge of what will inevitably be a prolonged and damaging dispute.

“We reminded him of his commitments to an enhanced dialogue on pay and his intent to ensure that the civil service was comparable to elsewhere in the public sector.

“He had no answer as to why the government was adopting this approach or why they have decided to treat the civil service so differently to the rest of the public sector.”

Penman said that unless the government shifts its stance, the FDA will ballot for strike action.

Meanwhile, the head of the PCS union, which also represents civil servants, described the pay announcement as an “insult”.

Mark Serwotka said: “This insulting proposal will serve only to anger PCS members, stiffen their resolve ahead of the forthcoming re-ballot and increase the likelihood of a new wave of sustained strike action.

“Unlike the health and education unions that have had intensive talks leading to improved pay offers, we were given no opportunity to negotiate – it’s the most deplorable way to treat their own staff.

“The government has carried on as if there hasn’t been the biggest industrial action in a decade, if this has been a normal year.

“To make no improvement on 2022’s offer of 2% and to announce a below-inflation rise for 2023 is an insult and shows once again the government has treated its own workforce demonstrably worse than anyone else.”


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