Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, has announced plans to cap Civil Service redundancy pay. Compulsory redundancies will be limited to 12 months pay and voluntary redundancies to 15 months.
That makes the last government’s proposals look pretty generous. Labour planned to cap the payments at 2 years pay for civil servants earning more than £25,000 but the Public and Commercial Services Union was having none of it. The PCS challenged the proposed changes in the High Court, which ruled them to be unlawful.
As I said yesterday, I would be very surprised if the government manages to implement its new proposals by 15 September, even with emergency legislation. However, you can be sure that the law will be changed before too long, if not by September then certainly by the end of the year.
Which makes the PCS leadership’s intransigence look rather ill-judged. If Labour’s changes had been accepted, the Coalition would probably have left things as they were. The extra gains from picking another fight with the unions would not have been worth it. But now, under these new plans, civil servants facing redundancy will be considerably worse off than they would have been under Labour’s proposals.
The other five civil service unions accepted Labour’s deal because they feared that a Conservative government would impose something worse. Looks like they were right.