The PCS union, which represents the majority of union members in the civil service, has rejected a new government offer on changing the Civil Service Compensation Scheme.
The government wants to reduce the payments workers get when they are made redundant to clear the way for mass job losses.
PCS members struck powerfully against the then Labour government’s plans to change the scheme earlier this year. A High Court ruling then threw out the plans.
Now the Tories have come back with major attacks, saying they will introduce a bill on the issue.
This would see payoffs for compulsory redundancies capped at 12 month’s pay and voluntary redundancies at 15 month’s salary.
The government’s offer to the unions makes marginal improvements to this, such as voluntary severance pay being increased to 21 months.
The PCS has rejected the offer as it worsens conditions for many of its members, especially the lowest paid. But a number of unions have accepted it. This has undermined unity.
The PCS will now ballot its members on the offer. They should reject it and look to strikes to resist this attack. Members of the other unions should work to overturn their leaders’ decision.