The final offer negotiated by the FDA, and other unions, has now been implemented and the terms came into effect on Wednesday 9 November.
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The Treasury announced in early February that it wanted to set new parameters for how redundancy payments should be calculated in schemes across the public sector. At the same time, the Cabinet office announced a review would take place of the terms available in the civil service. Public consultations were launched for both reviews and at the same time, we entered in to negotiations with the Cabinet Office.
The FDA has been clear throughout that we strongly opposed to the Government's attacks on civil service redundancy terms, whether emanating from the Cabinet Office or the Treasury. We repeatedly argued that these are unjustified; coming just a few years after the last Government negotiated new arrangements with the FDA. Whilst robustly challenging the proposals, including in our formal responses to the consultations, it became evident that Ministers were intent on forging ahead with changes to the current scheme.
In these circumstances, the FDA sought to ensure that the union was able to maximise our influence over the proposals through mitigating some of detrimental changes proposed and achieving improvements in the scheme where possible.
This proved a difficult and complex process involving many months of negotiations in two distinct phases. In June an interim offer was made by the Cabinet Office to all of the civil service unions. Those that could agree in principle to the terms of that offer were able to access further negotiations. The FDA, together with Prospect, Unison, GMB and the Defence Police Federation judged that continuing in negotiations presented an opportunity for further progress and that this was therefore the best course of action for FDA members.
The Executive Committee had to consider the progress that had been made in these negotiations and the consequences of rejection. The Cabinet Office was clear that, if rejected, the final offer would be withdrawn and the proposals outlined in June, which in the main are closer to the Treasury terms, would be implemented. In these circumstances, members would need to be prepared take sustained industrial action to have any possibility of persuading the government to make changes to the scheme, beyond those already on offer.
The Executive Committee therefore concluded that having made significant progress in negotiations, as outlined above, the best option for members was to recommend acceptance of the final offer, rather than see an inferior offer imposed.
In October 2016 FDA members voted to accept the final offer, as did members of Prospect, Unison, GMB, Unite, the Defence Police Federation, the National Crime Officers Association and the Prison Governors Association.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Ben Gummer confirmed that "a sufficient number of unions have accepted the offer on the Civil Service Compensation Scheme to constitute an agreement" and the new terms came into effect on Wednesday 9 November 2016.