Friday, 16 July 2010


On 13th July 2010 I complained about HMG not putting a Superannuation Bill before Parliament.  On 15th July 2010 HM Paymaster General - Francis Anthony Aylmer Maude - did just that - the Superannuation Bill is now before Parliament and has a mere 2 clauses - its sole aim to permit HMG to cut civil service compensation without needing union consent to save the economy and the is the official explanation for the Bill....note the sting in the tale - unions will be consulted, their consent not sought....

3. The Bill places upper limits on payments under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS), a scheme made under the Superannuation Act 1972. The CSCS sets out the tariffs which may apply when the employment of civil servants is terminated prematurely. The terms of the CSCS were amended in February 2010, but those amendments were quashed in judicial review proceedings brought by the Public and Commercial Service Union, so that the former compensation terms have now revived. For many civil servants, the former terms produced more generous outcomes than did the February 2010 terms.
4. The former CSCS terms, as now revived, generally provide a service and age-related payment for people aged under 50 and enhanced early retirement terms for people aged between 50 and 60. The amount of the payment varies depending on the tariff, with the tariff applying on compulsory redundancy providing payments of up to 3 years’ pay and enhanced early retirement packages which can cost employers 6 years’ pay. Redundancy terms for certain employees who joined before 1987 can lead to higher costs for employers.
The Bill caps compensation payable under the CSCS at a maximum of 12 months’ pensionable earnings for compulsory exits, and 15 months’ pensionable earnings for voluntary exits. The Bill also contains a ‘sunset’ clause, whereby clause 1 (which imposes the caps) will expire after 12 months, unless repealed earlier by order-making powers, or extended or revived using order-making powers. The Government’s intention is that new and more long-term amendments will be made to the CSCS timed to dovetail with the expiry of clause 1. The CSCS amendments will be made after consultation with trade unions.
How did the PCS react - with a warm welcome to the Bill?  No...fighting talk:  Quite how an Act of Parliament is going to be found illegal (save for a human rights challenge....or by offending EU Law) is slightly beyond me......I do note that the new Bill does not expressly repeal the need for Union consent - will PCS and HMG have an express/implied repeal debate in the Admin Court some time soon?

Cuts to civil service redundancy pay could be illegal

15 July 2010
The new government's plans to cut civil service redundancy terms could be challenged in parliament and the courts, PCS warns.
Following legal advice, the union is urging MPs to question the validity of the ‘money bill’ laid in parliament today by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.
Plans to cut the accrued rights of existing civil and public servants could also be challenged on human rights grounds, the union believes.
The High Court has ruled twice in PCS’s favour that the previous government acted unlawfully when it tried to cut redundancy terms without the union’s agreement
The High Court has ruled twice in PCS’s favour that the previous government acted unlawfully when it tried to cut redundancy terms without the union’s agreement.
The union also says the Cabinet Office’s claim that civil servants can receive six years’ pay on being made redundant is highly misleading because this applies to almost none of the existing workforce.
Nor is it accurate to say that the ‘average’ payout is three years’ salary. Only staff with 20 years’ service would qualify for this, but the average length of service for admin officers - who make up 47% of the civil service - is just seven years, rising to 14 years for executive officers.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “We will be studying the proposed legislation in detail, but our advice suggests the government might be repeating the mistakes of the previous administration in acting outside the law, simply to make it easier and cheaper to cuts tens of thousands of jobs.
“We fundamentally reject the need for these cuts and, as well as challenging them in parliament and the courts if necessary, we will pursue every avenue to oppose them in towns and cities across the UK.”

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