Government lose law case on Civil Service reform

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by HectortheInspector, May 10, 2010.

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  1. The Government has lost it's Judicial Review case against the PCS union on imposed changes to Civil Service Terms and conditions.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8672150.stm

    PCS say:
    Major victory for union over plans to cut civil service redundancy pay
    10 May 2010
    • The Public and Commercial Services union has won a major legal victory against government plans to drastically cut civil service redundancy payments.
    • Following a two-day judicial review hearing in the High Court in April, Mr Justice Sales ruled today (10 May) that the previous government acted unlawfully when it introduced, without PCS’s agreement, a new redundancy scheme reducing the rights staff had accrued over time.
    • In what is a dramatic win for the union’s 270,000 public sector members, the judgement quashes a revised scheme that the government had sought to impose from 1 April. It means the next government, when it is established, must reopen negotiations with the union if it is to agree a new arrangement that protects existing members’ rights.
    • The union has always maintained the changes to the civil service compensation scheme, which governs payments in the event of redundancy and early retirement, would have made it easier and cheaper to cut tens of thousands of civil service jobs and privatise more of our public services. It has also argued consistently that the government had no authority to act independently.
    • When PCS members took three days of strike action in March, including on budget day, Gus O’Donnell described it as “misguided” and Tessa Jowell, then the civil service minister said the “time for talking is over”.
    • Despite widespread anger among the government’s workforce, and opposition from 176 MPs including 121 Labour backbenchers, changes aimed at saving £500 million over three years were forced through. If they had been allowed to stand they would in many cases have robbed civil servants of thousands of pounds if they were forced out of their job.
    • Strike action was suspended during the election - though the union continued to campaign in targeted constituencies across the UK - but PCS now says a failure to comply with the ruling would risk angering civil servants still further, leading to the possibility of more industrial action.
    • PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Our members in the civil and public services refused to sit back and watch their terms and conditions being ripped up in front of their eyes. This ruling is a huge tribute to them for mounting one of the most impressive campaigns this union has seen, in the face of some disgraceful criticism from their employer and ministers.
    • “We have always accepted that changes are necessary but all we ever asked is that they were fair and protected those who have given loyal service. We will now be knocking on the door of the next government to remind ministers they are legally obliged to reach an agreement with us. If they do not meet their obligations, the union will have to consider further industrial and legal action.”

    Hugh Lanning, PCS deputy general secretary, called on the next government to comply with the judgement and enter into talks as a matter of urgency to reach a fair agreement for all civil servants, adding: “This is a major victory for our members, who were being deprived of their rights by a government that refused to talk and reach agreement. Let’s hope the new government obeys the law.”
    • Richard Arthur, head of trade union law at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The law says that the government can’t change redundancy rights which have already accrued for civil servants unless the unions agree. As the judge said, this was unsurprising in the circumstances of civil service employment. PCS did not agree to the new scheme and so it was found to be unlawful.”

    The upshot is that having to undo some crassly imposed changes will now fall into the lap of the incoming Government, as will the need to renegotiate the whole package again. Another little legacy from Gordon to his successor.
     
  2. Pretty much a fitting epitaph to put on the headstone of an allegedly Socialist (Up the workers,yeah right up 'em!) Government. The last 10 years of industrial relations here has been lifted straight out of a Carry On film, Sid James would have been right at home drafting policy and legislation. Certainly couldn't be worse,how much have this lot actually won at the High Court?
     
  3. Great - so that scotches any attempt to deal with the £1 trillion+ public sector pension liability....
     
  4. Grownup_Rafbrat

    Grownup_Rafbrat LE Good Egg (charities)

    On the other hand, it may make employers (particularly outsourcers) think twice before just tearing up contracts to impose new ones which are cheaper to them, and possibly persuade them to negotiate changes to said contracts instead.

    As to PCS, their whole management board seems to consist of refugees from the old SWP who spend more time declaring support for oppressed peoples like the Palestinians and 'denying the BNP a platform' than they do actually supporting their members. This was entirely political, imho, and nothing to do with a victory for their members.

    The recent election for reps and officers may have removed some of the worst offenders, I hope.
     
  5. This mostly affects core Civil Service, and privatised agencies, rather than local councils and such, but it will certainly delay making changes happen. The main driver was to make it easier and cheaper to sack Civil Servants, rather than address the pensions issue.

    It might affect me, but I'll happily declare an interest.

    The problem isn't the changes in themselves, but the stupidly confrontational approach the Government took in ramming them through, even in the face of legal challenge. For a Government made up of lawyers, it was a spectacular and entirely avoidable own goal.
     
  6. Typical of the bullying and arrogant govt we have lived with for over a decade. Immoral, illegal and illogical cnuts.
     
  7. Grownup_Rafbrat

    Grownup_Rafbrat LE Good Egg (charities)

    And of the advice they have been given by Fujitsu, IBM, HP and all their favourite US Outsourcers, who of course don't have to worry themselves about boring stuff like UK Employment Law!
     
  8. Which successive governments have ignored hoping it'll happen "to someone else"
    I'm Public Sector now; and I put £385 a month into my pension fund. How much do you put in?
     
  9. Not pensions, redundancy.
     
  10. The last time I looked, the armed forces pernsion scheme was distinctly 'public sector' but I doubt you'd like to see that 'dealt with'.
     
  11. There ya go.
     
  12. msr

    msr LE

    But you get out far more than the 'value' of your contributions.

    msr
     
  13. Yes, If I live long enough after I retire. How much in the way of contributions do the forces make?
     
  14. Double post.
     
  15. Depends on rank of course. You are about to claim that ours in non-contributory. It is non-contributory only in name. In fact it is taken into account by the AFPRB when setting our pay rates so, in reality, no-one will ever know what it actually is.