The public service federations of the CCOO confederation have called on the acting government to guarantee that the 2% pay increase, agreed as part of a three-year pay deal, will be paid on 1 January 2020 to all three million public sector workers. Formally a new government has yet to be confirmed and the acting public service minister is claiming that the increase cannot be confirmed but that it could be paid and backdated later in 2020. The union argues that the increase can be paid on the basis of a royal decree and say this needs to be done urgently as part of the union demands to win back rights cut or reduced during austerity.
Union rejects government delay to pay increase
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Unions representing public service workers have made clear that they do not accept the government’s proposal to suspend this year’s pay increases, along with Christmas and other bonuses. Two pay increases are due to be paid this year, both of 2% in June and October. EPSU issued a statement supporting the unions’ position and criticising the government for pushing for a pay freeze for workers on the frontline of the fight against the pandemic.
The public sector federations, FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and UIL-FPL, have expressed their anger in delays to negotiations covering over a million workers in public health and local government. The unions argue that the basis for negotiations across the public sector were laid out in the framework agreement of November 2016 and there is no justification for not moving forward quickly with the sector-level negotiations. The three federations are planning a mobilisation for 5 February to put pressure on the government and employers.
The three main civil service unions - PCS, Prospect and FDA - have strongly rejected the latest pay guidance from the government. While lifting the 1% cap on public sector pay increases, the latest guidance for negotiations across the civil service are for pay to rise on average by 1.0%-1.5%. The unions argue that the proposed level is derisory and fails to acknowledge the real pay cuts suffered by civil servants in recent years. They are also angry that the government failed to carry out a proper process of consultation with the unions over the pay guidance document.