Union welcomes Cabinet Secretary dispelling civil service ‘fat cat’ myths

11 November 2010
For immediate release

The FDA has welcomed the Cabinet Secretary dispelling the "tired old caricatures" of civil servants as "featherbedded pen-pushing bureaucrats...on Premiership footballer-style salaries".

Writing in today's Guardian, Sir Gus O'Donnell states that the "hackneyed stories of civil servants...working in luxurious conditions and retiring on fat-cat pensions are becoming increasingly absurd...Civil servants are working tirelessly and professionally to support the coalition government through the current challenges every day".

Jonathan Baume, FDA General Secretary, said:

"We welcome Sir Gus O'Donnell's defence of the civil service and his dispelling of the myths surrounding inflated civil service pay and pension provision.

"Data prepared by the Hay Group for the Cabinet Office earlier this year shows that pay levels for higher civil service grades is behind that of comparable jobs in the private sector by a minimum of 21.7%, with the gap extending to a massive 97.6% at the most senior level of the civil service. This clearly shows how far civil service pay is from the perceived 'fat cat' salaries.

"We now hope that ministers will publicly echo the Cabinet Secretary's supportive comments in recognising the valuable contribution made by civil servants who, as Sir Gus states, are 'working extremely hard for their communities, especially at a time when many face a renewed uncertainty about their future'."

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.
  • Kay Hender, Communications Officer, tel: 020 7401 5589.