Criticism of Ministry of Defence ‘bonuses’ is very unfair and misleading, says union

12 November 2009

For immediate release

Criticisms of 'bonus' payments made to Ministry of Defence civilian staff are very unfair and misleading, the FDA said today. The FDA is the union representing senior managers and professionals in the civil service.

FDA general secretary Jonathan Baume said: "This criticism is very unfair. We are talking about tens of thousands of people working very hard to support our troops. Many of these payments are made to people serving alongside the military - in Iraq and Afghanistan. They include a very wide range of technical and professional staff.

"The payments themselves are not bonuses in the way that most people would understand them. They are non-pensionable, are not carried forward to the next year and are taken out of the overall pay pot set by Ministers. This means that, over recent years, pay levels for civil servants in the Ministry of Defence have been depressed.

"Ministers have insisted on similar schemes in most departments, and it is about time Ministers went on record defending the arrangements that they put in place."

Baume added: "Over the past 25 years successive Conservative and Labour Governments have handed over to civilians many jobs that were previously done by members of the armed forces.

"These are jobs that in many countries are still done by the armed forces - and it costs substantially more to employ the armed forces for work that civilians could do."

Ends

Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the trade union and professional body representing 18,000 of the UK's senior civil and public servants. Our members include policy advisors, senior managers, tax inspectors, economists, statisticians, accountants, special advisers, government lawyers, diplomats, crown prosecutors and NHS managers.

2. Members in HMRC are represented by the Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC), a section of the FDA.

3. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".

4. The system of 'bonus' payments made to Senior Civil Servants was first introduced by a Conservative government in 1996 and it has been taken forward by the current Labour Government.

4. For further information contact:

Jonathan Baume, FDA General Secretary, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07976 951191.

Oliver Rowe, Communications Officer, tel: 020 7401 5588 or 07590 838696.