The main headlines are as follows:
- An end to the pay freeze/”pay cap” policy – and for an across-the-board increase, (in line with the RPI measure of inflation as at June 2012 plus 1%), to be paid to all staff which is fully consolidated, pensionable and additional to any increases linked to pay progression. All non-consolidated performance pay and monies should be diverted into consolidated pay.
- No pension contribution increases
- Pay progression as a right for all – in line with the commitment previously given by HMRC management to introduce a separately funded contractual right to pay progression from scale minima to scale maxima within a defined period to be implemented with immediate effect. This includes our policy for spot rates for the AA/AO grades set at pay range maxima. The funding for this element to be costed separately and without detriment to the rest of this claim
- Opposition to any form of market facing local or zonal pay
- A flat-rate £4,500 London Pay premium where this has not already been achieved
- Equality as a central principle on which pay systems are based and assessed – including reference to issues of work/life balance, such as a 35 hours (net) working week; 39 weeks full pay for maternity/adoption leave; and 15 days paid maternity support leave
- Pay harmonisation across HMRC – including the Valuation Office Agency
Future Pay Prospects/Pay Strategy Review
We are due to meet management on 30 July. In addition to discussing our pay claim, we will be seeking an update on management’s plans to introduce “market facing local pay”.
It was initially indicated that departments would be required to submit a three-year strategy for moving to local market facing pay structures to the Cabinet Office by the end of May. As the deadline loomed, however, it became clear that departments were in no position to meet it – not only because there were difficulties in obtaining external data in order to develop their proposals but also there were suggestions that Ministers were still considering their input. This, in itself, is proving to be a fraught question as a result of the well-publicised differences between the two coalition parties on the principle of regional pay.
Consequently, it was only confirmed in early June that the deadline had been extended to “mid-July”. Before two weeks had passed, however, reports surfaced across the press that the government was preparing to embark on (yet another) U-turn – with both the Prime Minister and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, (Danny Alexander), indicating that local pay would be introduced only if there was “strong evidence to support it” and a “rational basis for change”. Given this confusion, we have sought clarification from management and they have advised us that they are still “awaiting a formal steer”.
We will also be having initial discussions about the proposed 1% “pay cap” policy and its implications for the pay strategy review. As indicated above, our main aims are to secure pay progression and “cost-of-living” increases for all staff.
Pay Campaign 2012
We are aware that our pay claim has been submitted in the context of a difficult bargaining climate. We are in the second year of the “pay freeze” and management have announced that that all staff earning less than £21,000 with at least 91 days paid reckonable service as at 31 March 2012 will receive a consolidated pay award of £250. Further, staff obtaining a “top” performance mark will receive a performance award of 2.85%.
Similar situations face our PCS colleagues in other government departments – hence the decision taken at the union’s national conference to launch the “Play Fair on Pay 2012” campaign. The National Executive Committee (NEC) has agreed to produce materials which highlight the detrimental effect local/regional pay will have on families, communities and the economy. In support of this PCS has published the booklet “Inequality – the Price of Austerity” which promotes the case for fair pay and the need for an alternative economic model to neo-liberalism and the austerity agenda. This can be found on the PCS website
In addition to this, a survey of members finances was commissioned jointly by PCS and UNITE and its findings will help mobilise support for the union’s alternative vision for fair pay. There are also plans to launch a PCS “Pay Blog” – with the aim of increasing membership awareness of our campaign and strategy as well as providing a means to exchange up-to-date reports, etc.
EM13 – which was carried at our own HMRC Group Conference – instructed the Group Executive Committee to liaise with the NEC regarding building membership support for the national campaign. Our Pay Sub-Committee has been charged with drawing up proposals to put to the GEC to determine how the national campaign will be taken forward within HMRC.
A number of other issues have also been tabled for discussion at the meeting on 30 July – including equal pay, attendance allowances, salary overpayments and the cycle salary sacrifice scheme. A full report will be provided following the meeting with management.