Strike action on Wednesday 15 October 2014

Today PCS workers are on strike for fair pay. 

I have posted a blog here from a senior civil servant, giving his view of the strike; it’s worth reading (not for the drivel he spouts, but for the comments at the end)

Nobody likes going on strike, staff lose a days pay after all, but when you have an employer who thinks there is nothing wrong with your annual pay rate in 2009 being the same as your annual pay rate in 2014, whilst they cut back on staff and close down enquiry centres and post rooms and bills continue to rise, then enough really is enough.

My payslip from 2009 shows my annual rate is unchanged. Shame my bills haven’t stayed the same too! ‘Non consolidated’ is NOT a pay rise!  (facebook comment from PCS member)

This government treat ALL people with contempt, not only those in work (Fire service/nurses and midwives for example) but also the disabled, ill and unemployed.

Public service – two words that define the Civil Service. It offers a sense of fulfilment, and responsibility, that few other organisations can match. It is what attracts hundreds of people – including some of the country’s brightest graduates and apprentices – to join our ranks every year and it’s what motivates all of us to do the best job we can. Whether processing tax returns at Longbenton, issuing driving licences in Swansea, or working with young offenders in Lancaster, everything we do matters because we deliver the services that people rely on.

Over the past few years our country has faced massive challenges, particularly as a result of the economic downturn. But today, the deficit has been reduced by half, the UK is enjoying faster growth than any other major economy, and unemployment continues to fall. The Civil Service can take credit for helping the Government to deliver this improving outlook. But we can also be proud that we have grasped the opportunity to go further, by fully embracing the spirit of reform and committing ourselves to find new ways of working.

We have still got lots to do, but the Civil Service is stronger, more capable and more efficient than ever before. In doing this, we are demonstrating to the public that the Civil Service can innovate and adapt in order to deliver more and better services for less money.

On Wednesday the PCS union, which represents some civil servants, will go on strike.

While it is of course a matter for individual PCS members to decide whether or not to support this strike, I hope they will consider carefully the impact that not turning up to work has on the services they deliver, their colleagues and the overall reputation of the Civil Service. They should also consider the impact on neighbours, friends and communities, who must contend with the disruption that strikes can cause.

We all recognise of course that the pay restraint of the past few years has been tough, but with the economy 15% smaller on a permanent basis than was projected before the recession, action to reduce costs in the Civil Service was necessary. Without the difficult decisions to pay and pensions, headcount reductions would have had to have been far more severe. It’s also important to remember that the Civil Service as a whole still enjoys terms and conditions on a par with the best employers.

I think most people understand this, and I have no doubt that the vast majority of civil servants will be at work on Wednesday doing what they do best – delivering first class public services.



  1. Poor and miserable — 14/10/2014

    MPS to get a 10% payrise. Civil servants on less than £17,000 a year got absolutely nothing this year, meaning in effect a pay cut.

    I’ll say no more

    Link to this commentReply

  2. Lord Idwal — 14/10/2014

    Dear Sir Jeremy
    Why are you acting as a Tory apologist? Whatever happened to civil service neutrality? As someone who earns £200,000 a year, rather than lecture your low paid employees, why don’t you do something useful for once and help to resolve the dispute!

    Link to this commentReply

  3. broke and cold — 14/10/2014

    Dear Civil Service leaders, how about sticking up for your staff for once? After all “the only obeying orders” of the government has got others in to trouble in the past.

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  4. David — 14/10/2014

    What an absolutely appalling commentary from a supposedly senior leader in the civil service. The most worrying part of it is not the lack of impartiality, but the seeming utter lack of understanding about the events he discusses. An insulting attempt to rewrite history. He should go for this, he really should.

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  5. Barry faulkner — 14/10/2014

    When I was a civil servant, senior civil servants remained silent on political matters yet this mandarin has seen fit to advise low paid workers what is best for them, the term Tory party apologist doesn’t even touch, this guy is clearly a card carrying member. Disgraceful behaviour for a civil servant in his position

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  6. Gary Sharpe — 14/10/2014

    I will seriously consider this individuals statement when he can give me a justifiable, reasonable and even partially acceptable reason for using the argument of “it was decided by an independent body” when refusing to argue against the MP’s payrise and then refuse to give the NHS workers a 1% payrise even though it was the decision of “an independent body” to award it! Who do I think should get the rise? Now let me see….. a robbing thieving scumbag who is only out to line his own pocket or an NHS worker who works all of the hours that God sends to make sure that everybody regardless of race, creed, colour or kind has the same opportunity to stay healthy? Wow, that is a hard one, good job we have an independent body to decide for us. Me, I will be mulling the quandary over whilst stood on the picket line tomorrow in spite of the Unite and Unison scabs pulling out!

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  7. Jane Smith — 14/10/2014

    What absolute rubbish. Most civil servants will be on strike in order to DEFEND the public service they provide against pompous suits and the public sector cuts to staff and services they love to make on behalf of their rich mates.

    Tell this rubbish to the nurses who are striking, the lawyers who struck, even the damn police had a big march. None of you has a clue what public service is, and how could you? Like Bob Kerslake you’ll all be out one day and your private sector mates will be taking you in (not before you get the golden goodbye!).

    You think any of us get that?

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  8. Riri — 14/10/2014

    Highly paid senior civil servants in the pockets of this rich Tory governmnet as usual. Impartiality within the civil service is a joke when you blog something like this. I hope every last member of the PCS union joins the strike on Wednesday.

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  9. Krogstad Ibsen — 14/10/2014

    “with the economy 15% smaller on a permanent basis than was projected before the recession, action to reduce costs in the Civil Service was necessary.”
    So it’s possible to be Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service without any understanding of basic Keynesian economics – Recessions are times to increase spending to boost the economy

    “It’s also important to remember that the Civil Service as a whole still enjoys terms and conditions on a par with the best employers.”
    So instead of trying to improve terms and conditions for all workers in the UK, PCS members should just be thankful that they are not worse off.

    I think there was a mistake in your last paragraph; it should read:
    “I think most people understand this, and I have no doubt that the vast majority of Cabinet Secretaries will be at work on Wednesday doing what they do best – delivering first class grovelling to those who hand out cushy places in the House of Lords (it’s important to have a pension plan).”

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  10. Iain R — 14/10/2014

    Obsequious and patronising just the kind of nonsense I have come to expect from upper management. Don’t play on our morals when clearly you have none.

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  11. Algernon Cleasby — 14/10/2014

    All the way through the Civil Service we spend our days at the front line working with a knife permanently pushed in our backs from above – where else would a boss slag off the majority of their staff and STILL expect them to work hard and with a positive attitude.

    This article is politically biased and you should be ashamed of yourself! Clearly your political masters have paid every penny wisely if this is how you defend the staff you are meant to protect!

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  12. A Williams — 14/10/2014

    Using to further your politically insensitive comments is disgraceful. Staff cannot afford to live on the salaries now provided. Strike action is ALWAYS the last resort. Maybe YOU should listen to the majority of staff who are grossly underpaid for their hard work.

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  13. B. Low-Inflation — 14/10/2014

    Since you have taken over as Head of the Civil Service, I have admired your willingness to put your head on the block Sir Jeremy, regarding many of the important issues that affect the Civil Service. However in the interests of inpartiality this is a blog too far.
    Like many other civil servants I would just like to be paid enough not to have to claim the benefits we administer.
    You have made up one employees mind on what he is going to do tomorrow.

    Link to this commentReply

  14. stiofian riordrain — 14/10/2014

    tax cuts and fat bonuses for the rich like yourself, pay cuts and higher bills for the rest of wonder which side you are on

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  15. Coch Cymru — 14/10/2014

    Strike action is always a last resort, after all strikers don’t get paid for their absence. To me this says that this is a serious issue that people fell strongly about. Perhaps Sir Jeremy you should listen more carefully to what civil servants are saying, because even those who don’t strike are not happy about having what amounts to a pay cut.

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  16. NJP — 14/10/2014

    To say that “the vast majority of civil servants will be at work on Wednesday” is speculative at best and unlikely to be fact. The Employee Relations Framework says that Civil Servants are encouraged to be union members. Surely they cannot then complain when we exercise our democratic and legal right to strike?

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  17. Disgruntled civil servant — 14/10/2014

    So we have to accept not just year after year of cuts to our pay in real terms, but also slashing our pension, terms & conditions and introducing a new performance management system which is crushing morale.

    But we should accept this out of pride? Not only this, but face indefinite pay cuts and attacks on our jobs? Where will it end, given that we’re facing at least another few years of 1%?

    You leave many CS no choice but to take action to defend our livelihoods

    Link to this commentReply

  18. Mary Hibbs — 14/10/2014

    Whatever happened to impartiality? And you wonder why there’s a complete lack of engagement with your staff? Disgraceful.


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5 Responses to Strike action on Wednesday 15 October 2014

  1. About 5 months ago I received a letter from the tax office with incorrect information. I immediately wrote back with the correct information – the full details of my income last year and this year. I haven’t heard from them since. I also sent a cheque making up Nat Ins payments for one year. Both letters were sent Recorded which I always use when writing to HMRC. Nothing. Given that my electoral registration form from last year evidently “got lost in the post” as I found I had been taken off the electoral register, I was a bit worried. So a couple of weeks ago I went to my local tax office to try and find out what is going on. The tax office had just closed a few months earlier. Now what do I do?


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