Ministers are taking steps to cut redundancy benefits for 500,000 civil servants as part of the coalition government’s efforts to cut the country’s deficit.
At the moment civil servants are entitled to severance payouts worth as much as six years’ salary. The government wants to reduce these packages by bringing them in line with what is offered in the private sector, where the statutory minimum is one week per year of service.
The move follows Labour government imposed arrangements that reduced redundancy terms from a maximum of six and a half years pay to a maximum of two years with extra support for employees on low incomes. This, however, was ruled as unlawful after the the deal was rejected by the the Public Commercial Service Union (PCS).
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, said: “The High Court ruled twice in our favour that it was unlawful for the government to cut civil service redundancy pay without the consent of its workforce.
“It is a disgrace that, simply because it failed to get its way, the government now appears to be prepared to change the law to make it easier and cheaper to sack tens of thousands of civil and public servants.
“Following the High Court decision, we immediately said we were open to negotiations to seek to reach an agreement. So it is shocking that the government does not seem willing to even test whether this is possible.
“This comes on the back of news that more than one million jobs could be lost in the public and private sectors because of the government’s cuts. There is an alternative to these cuts and we are clear that we will use all the means at our disposal to resist any attempt to make low-paid public servants pay the price for an economic crisis they did not cause.”
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