Specialists gear up for battle on pay and jobs


Specialists gear up for battle on pay and jobs, general secretary designate tells TUC

Specialists' and professionals' union Prospect will today (Monday) support a call for the TUC to co-ordinate unions' efforts to break the pay freeze and end punitive pay caps.

"There is a positive agenda for public service reform - but it must be based on quality and values, not blunt cost-cutting," Mike Clancy, the union's General Secretary Designate, will say during the TUC debate on pay and public service reform this afternoon, pointing out that cuts, austerity and pay freezes make no contribution to growth.

"If the Government wants a battle, they will get it. Although Prospect wants to avoid further industrial action, we are making plans and will take it if necessary."

Clancy will highlight how the government's pay policy and proposals for regional pay not only penalise the poorest workers but professionals, too. IDS research for Prospect and the FDA has shown specialist median pay lags 21-33% behind comparable roles in the private sector.

On jobs, Clancy will say that Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude's civil service reform plan fails to provide a basis for fair or sustainable change. "It appears that the job cuts target is to be achieved by using a discredited performance assessment system that will penalise people who don't get on with their manager. This is despite the latest evidence from the CIPD that the key - and growing - challenge facing public sector employers is actually to recruit and retain skilled managers and professional staff."

Prospect is calling for:

• a pay review body for the wider civil service, with the power to consider evidence relating to civil servants by function or professional group
• a reward strategy for specialists
• greater flexibility for arm's length bodies to determine pay from within their own resources
• a skills audit that provides an accurate and comprehensive basis for skills planning.

Prospect represents 34,000 engineers, scientists and other specialists working in the civil service, agencies and other non-departmental bodies in areas as varied as defence, meteorology, vehicle testing, cartography, prison management, nuclear regulation or veterinary science, to name just a few.