Civil service unions call for change of administration to herald reset in relations following initial meeting

27 September 2022

Prospect and the FDA have written to Edward Argar MP, the new Minister for the Cabinet Office, following an introductory meeting between the Minister and trade unions last week.

In the letter they call on the Minister to engage with unions on the critical issues of pay and the cost-of-living-crisis, proposals to cut the number of civil servants by 20%, and proposed cuts to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme.

Mike Clancy, Prospect General Secretary and Dave Penman FDA General Secretary, writing in the letter say:

“The country is facing a series of grave and interlinked challenges: the cost-of-living crisis, climate and energy security emergencies, and a war on European soil for the first time in decades.

“We are proud to represent the committed public servants working for the civil service who will be critical to ensuring we meet this moment. Our members are committed, highly skilled and specialised individuals, working across government departments and arm’s length bodies.”

“We know they will do all they can to provide impartial, expert advice and to deliver for the new government – as they have done for every government.”

Reflecting on the relationship with the Boris Johnson administration, they say:

“Unfortunately, the last government and certain ministers in particular, unleashed a relentless assault on the dedicated officials serving the public and created a very damaging culture to fester. At our meeting we emphasised that the impact on morale was the worst we had encountered through the various administrations of the last two decades, and left us posing the question to you of ‘why be a civil servant?’”

The General Secretaries argue that change in Prime Minister could provide the impetus for a reset in the relationship between civil service unions and the government, if ministers are prepared to engage in serious dialogue.

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