Scrap proposed cut to Senior Civil Service, says union leader

20 May 2010
(For immediate release)

Addressing the FDA's annual delegate conference on Thursday morning, Jonathan Baume, the union's general secretary, will call on the new Government to scrap the arbitrary cuts of 20% in the Senior Civil Service. The FDA is the union representing senior public servants.

He will tell delegates:

"Last Christmas the Labour Government called for arbitrary cuts of 20% in the Senior Civil Service. Let's be clear - the new Government should scrap that proposal.

"New Ministers will need all the resource available in the Senior Civil Service as they face up to the nation's challenges. To implement such arbitrary cuts at this stage can only weaken the coalition.

"I am not saying that there is no case at any time to reduce the size of the civil service. But Ministers must first decide to reduce the scope and reach of government, not simply slash jobs."

Baume will argue for a process of engagement with the new Government.

"The FDA is adamant that we will robustly defend the interests of our members and seek to protect the interests of the civil service as a whole. But we will do that most effectively through argument, engagement and negotiation - not through politically motivated confrontation.

"Inevitably the relationships we have with our employer, the government, will be sorely tested but I am convinced that an approach of constructive engagement rather than mass confrontation will deliver more. This is also the challenge faced in the wider public sector.

"Unions, employers, ministers all face a choice - we can try to work our way through the testing times ahead for the civil and public services against the background of a fiscal crisis, or we can all descend towards the public sector's equivalent of the miners' strike. It would be chaos and the whole country would suffer."

He will also emphasise the value to Britain of a politically impartial and permanent civil service.

"No one doubts that the civil service came through this period with its reputation enhanced as the Prime Minister made clear in recent days. This experience can only reinforce the value and importance to Britain of a politically impartial and permanent civil service."

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 or 07976 951191.

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