Public sector workers ‘asked to pay a very high price’ for the failings of others, says FDA

29 November 2011
(For immediate release)

The FDA has today called the Chancellor's Autumn Statement another blow to hard-pressed public sector workers who are 'being asked to pay a very high price' for the failings of others.

Jonathan Baume, FDA General Secretary, said:

"The outlook for the UK economy is grim after the debt bubble of the past decade and the blind folly of the Eurozone. The Chancellor's challenge is to implement a realistic growth strategy whilst sharing fairly the burden of austerity for the next few years. Yet public sector workers are being asked to pay a very high price for a crisis they played no part in creating.

"Bringing forward by ten years to 2026 the date on which the State Pension Age will increase to 67 can only exacerbate the difficulties of reaching an agreement on public sector pension reform because of the government's insistence on linking the pension age of public sector workers to the state pension age, and reinforce the determination of FDA members to take strike action tomorrow.

"This is a major change to the expectations for retirement of millions of both public and private sector workers, and has significantly reduced the value of the proposals announced by Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander only three weeks ago. Successful negotiations are based on trust and yet a key aspect of the Government's pensions' proposal has been devalued at a stroke at the same time as unions are being urged to call off tomorrow's strike.

"The imposition of a 1% cap on public sector pay for two years following the pay freeze will not only exacerbate the real fall in living standards for public sector workers, but will once again unfairly penalise the civil service compared to the rest of the public sector as a result of the lack of automatic pay progression.

"The Chancellor has asked the pay review bodies to look at comparability of pay levels in local labour markets, but once again is saying nothing about how far pay has fallen behind the market for essential jobs that FDA members undertake across the UK.

"The OBR forecast of a further 310,000 job losses in the public sector over the next six years, on top of the 400,000 already predicted, will lead to further fear and despondency at all levels of Britain's public services."

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. For further information contact:

  • Jonathan Baume, FDA General Secretary, tel: 020 7401 5555.
  • Kay Hender, Communications Officer, tel: 020 7401 5589.