Unions representing more than 200,000 civil servants have launched legal action against the government after they were excluded from a wider public sector wage bump.
The FDA, PCS and Prospect unions are seeking a High Court judicial review of the consultation on their pay rise, claiming ministers “demonstrated a disdain” for their members.
Pay guidance for civil servants issued by the Cabinet Office in June restricted pay rises to between 1 percent and 1.5 percent in 2018/19.
But in a statement rushed out on the last day of parliament in July, it was announced public sector workers including soldiers, teachers and prison officers would be handed pay rises of between 2 percent and 3.5 percent.
Civil service unions say the government failed to consult them properly on pay and that the decision to take legal action followed a number of failed attempts to resolve the dispute with ministers.
FDA general secretary Dave Penman said: “To add insult to injury, the government’s defence of its shambolic consultation process on pay for hundreds of thousands of civil servants is that they never intended to consult us on the new pay cap and rushed the guidance out because they didn’t trust us not to leak the 1.5 percent figure.
″This, more than anything, demonstrates the perilous state of industrial relations in the civil service.”
Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said that by refusing to consult “in any meaningful way” ministers had shown “disdain” for “hundreds of thousands of loyal, hard-working civil servants”.
He added: “By treating civil servants differently and worse than those employed in other parts of the public sector, the government has shown how little they value their vital contribution.”
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This shambolic state of affairs cannot go unchallenged and we will now pursue this matter to the High Court.”
HuffPost UK has contacted the Cabinet Office for comment.