Public service trade unions mobilised on 15 May for a demonstration outside the ministry for public service in protest at the spread of contractual employment and the erosion of civil service status. With over a million contractual workers making up a fifth of total civil service employment, the unions are concerned that the government's current plans, which include the prospect of increased use of contracts for public service workers, will further undermine civil service status. The unions argue that the poorer employment conditions of contractual workers are leading to increased inequality in the public service including a widening of the gender pay gap. This is one of the key issues behind the national day of strikes and protests on 22 May.
Unions protest over attacks on civil service status
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The three main public service federations took strike action on 30 April in protest at proposals for significant reductions to civil service employment rights and benefits. In a major cost-cutting reform plan the government wants to employ more workers on contracts, including temporary contracts, and reduce the number of civil servants on statutory conditions to a minimum. It is also looking to cut holiday entitlement and reduce certain sickness and pension benefits.
PCS, the largest civil service union, organised protests over pay on 31 August in three of the largest government departments. The three departments - Justice, Home Office, Revenue and Customs - have all indicated that they will maintain the 1% pay cap for another year. Research for PCS has shown that the effect of pay freezes and the pay gap has cost civil servants anything from £3500 (€3800) to £20000 (€21700) depending on grade. The union is calling for a pay rise of 5% or £1200 (€1300).
EPSU has today sent a letter to the prime minister of Poland,Mateusz Morawiecki, protesting agains the so-called Shield Two Act that poses a major threat to the jobs and pay and conditions of civil servants and other workers in public administration.