Employees working at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) who are members of the trade union Prospect have voted to reject a five-year pay deal because of corresponding changes to their employment terms and conditions.
Around 65% of Prospect members who work at the MoJ participated in the three-week ballot. As a result, 80% of members voted to reject the MoJ’s Modernising the Employment Proposition (MEP) deal.
The proposed deal offered employees a 3% pay increase for the first three years, followed by a further 1% pay rise in both the fourth and fifth years.
In order to accommodate the suggested 3% pay increases, the MEP proposition also included a number of changes to employment terms and conditions. This was to ensure that any awarded pay increase would be provided at no extra cost, and be supplied from existing staffing budgets.
These changes included increasing working hours from between 35 and 37 hours a week to 38 hours a week, and reducing paid overtime to a flat single time rate. A reduction to travel and subsistence rates were also proposed. This would have affected allowances such as the overnight allowance, which would have decreased from £23 to £9, and mileage rates, which would reduce from 35p a mile to 25p per mile.
The MEP further sought to replace the London allowance with a non-consolidated, non-pensionable payment of £500 in the third year of the deal, followed by a £1,000 payment in years four and five. Occupational sick pay was suggested at a maximum of five months at full pay and five months at half pay; however, according to Prospect, many employees currently receive occupational sick pay at a maximum of six months at full pay and six months at half pay.
The proposals also wished to regrade the top pay band by splitting it into two and returning to the standard civil service grading classification. Prospect stated that this caused confusion for its members.
Brian Harris, negotiations officer at Prospect, said: “During the course of the negotiations, Prospect raised a number of concerns about the length of the five-year deal, the allowances that were being removed, flat rate overtime and other significant changes that were being made to staff contracts.
“Our members have overwhelmingly voted to reject this offer as the uncertainty and price of changes to terms and conditions were too severe for our members. We will be going back to the MoJ to discuss the next steps after such a clear decision to reject the offer by our members.”