As unions prepare to ballot civil servants on the latest pay offer, more details have emerged about the deal’s “win-win” proposing they take a 50% share of government savings...if they come up with the cost-cutting ideas themselves.
A week after the latest pay offer has been made to civil servants, government officials shared further particulars about what the “share arrangement” aspect of the deal.
Off the back of what were termed as “productive” talks with the unions representing the island’s civil service workforce – JCSA Prospect and Unite the Union - the States Employment Board (SEB) last week made a further offer to their employees which they hope will resolve the protracted row over pay.
Pictured: The dispute, which has almost been rumbling on for ten months, has seen union members take to the streets in protest against 'insufficient' pay offers from their employer.
While there is no movement on the pay offer for 2018/19 – which has been forced into public sector staff’s pay packets regardless of their agreement – the SEB made the new offer for 2020: an inflationary rise (RPI expected to be at 3.1%) plus 1.3%.
But the suggested deal added a further, unprecedented bolt-on: a 50/50 “share arrangement” that would see the government and civil service split savings.
Elaborating on the terms of the deal, government officials explained that these savings would have to be over and above any of those forming part of the ‘Efficiency Programme’ - a scheme being put in place to plug the forecast black hole of £30-£40million in the public purse.
In order to realise the benefit of this arrangement, representatives of the civil servants will be responsible for identifying the money-saving schemes themselves through a steering group made up of senior management and union officials.
Further to this, Express understands that any ideas arrived at by this steering group will have to be endorsed by the SEB before the 50/50 split is agreed.
Pictured: The members of the SEB have put forward the new offer in the hopes that it will resolve the protracted pay dispute.
A government spokesperson told Express: “[The] SEB will establish a joint management/union group to lead this work immediately following any agreement reached on the pay offer. The terms of reference will be subject to agreement by this group, and endorsement by SEB.”
They added: “The share arrangement will split 50:50 with civil servants the value of savings, and other initiatives identified by the group, which are over and above those already identified under the Government’s Efficiency programme.
“The group will conclude its work with increases to salary being based on audited achievement throughout 2020. Recurring savings will be paid as consolidated amounts to increase salaries with effect from 1 January 2020, and one-off savings will be paid as unconsolidated lump sums shortly after the savings are made.”
They also confirmed that this aspect of the new pay deal was made “in response to ideas put forward by [civil servants] as a means of resolving the dispute", rather than the SEB.
The spokesperson continued: “It is a true win-win, because benefits will flow to civil servants, as well as to Government, through improved ways of working and cost savings, which may not otherwise have been identified.”
Pictured: The cost-cutting measures will have to be identified by civil servants and be beyond those identified already by the government in its £30million-£40million savings plan.
Ultimately, however, as the offer hasn't been agreed, the parameters of such a scheme are not yet definite: “The clear intention is for this scheme, which was requested by the unions, to lead to efficiencies and savings, but the details of how it will work have yet to be decided.”
The new offer, made just ahead of the dispute entering its tenth month, also allows for civil servants to access greater amounts of holiday pay as they become more senior.
Under the new terms, employees with the most experience could be allowed 31 days in paid leave – the same amount as Government Chief Executive Charlie Parker – if the offer is agreed.
However, since the deal's release, some have suggested that this is little compensation for another element of the deal, which was not highlighted by the government in its civil service pay update statement issued last week: the increase of weekly working hours by 0.5 per week.
Pictured: Under the terms of the new offer, the most experienced civil servants will be entitled to the same amount of time off as CEO Charlie Parker.
If agreed, the new deal would take working hours to 37.5 hours per week with effect from July.
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