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Unions recommend deal

Civil service workers balloted on 4% pay offer

Derek Mackay

Derek Mackay: changes to public sector pay (photo by Terry Murden)

Civil service trade unions in Scotland today have launched a ballot of members in the Scottish Government on a 4% pay rise offer from Scottish ministers.

The offer, which is being recommended by the unions, comes almost a decade after the 1% public sector pay cap was imposed on civil and public servants.

This year’s offer marks a significant departure from the ongoing crisis in public sector pay at Westminster.

Worth at least 4% for the vast majority of staff, the offer was negotiated following significant changes made to public sector pay policy by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay in the Budget last year.

It is the latest in a series of six similar offers from Scottish public sector employers, where the unions are balloting with a recommendation of acceptance. 

Scottish civil service unions (FDA, Public and Commercial Services (PCS), Prison Officers Association (POA) and Prospect) confirm that the advancements in pay policy are due to a sustained cross-union campaign to break the 1% cap and its limitations.  

Since the pay cap has been in place, the value of average pay in the public sector has fallen by up to 9% against inflation.

In meetings with both the First Minister and Mr Mackay over the last 18 months, as well as the result of a consultative ballot by the PCS union, the direction from the Cabinet Secretary has enabled negotiators to maximise the benefits of pay policy, and deliver an inflation-proofing increase for the vast majority of Scottish Government workers this year. 

Lynn Henderson, PCS National Officer, said: “The offer from the Scottish Government is a welcome departure from the years of austerity pay our members have suffered.

“If it proves one thing, this offer shows the power of being in a union. It’s only through collective strength that we’ve been able to get to this point. 

“Now we’re asking members to decide whether it’s enough for them. Mr MacKay said that this year’s pay policy would be part of a ‘journey’.

“The next step in that journey can’t come quick enough, because whilst a minimum of 4% is good this year, it doesn’t come close to fixing the damage caused by nearly a decade of pay cuts. 

“It’s a step in the right direction, but PCS members are aware of the challenges yet to come.”

Prospect’s national secretary for Scotland Richard Hardy commented: “This pay offer represents a clear break with the austerity agenda, it’s a tribute to the strength of conviction and campaigning by all our members across the Scottish Government, I’d also like to thank the First Minister and Mr Mackay for the engaging with us, for listening to our concerns, for changing public sector pay policy and for taking a pragmatic approach to its implementation.”

Allan Sampson, FDA national officer for Scotland, said: “The lifting of the 1% pay cap was long overdue and has enabled the unions to negotiate a welcome pay rise for Scottish Government workers that marks a first step towards addressing years of pay erosion.

“Our members in Scottish Government carry out challenging and vital work for the people of Scotland and it is only right they should be rewarded appropriately.

“This pay offer comes as a result of constructive dialogue between trade unions, Ministers and Scottish Government officials and sets the standard for future engagement.”


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