CUTS to Civil Service redundancy payments should be scrapped, unions said yesterday after a court ruled that the government had failed to properly consult over reforms.
Civil Service union PCS fears cuts to redundancy packages could mean laid-off workers could get between 14 and 42 per cent less in payouts.
PCS, by far the largest union in the Civil Service, argued in the High Court that former Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer failed in his legal “duty to consult with a view to reaching agreement.” Mr Gummer, who lost his seat to Labour in the general election, had excluded PCS from more than a dozen meetings attended by most of the smaller unions, it argued.
Unions were told they could attend meetings if they provided a “clear commitment” that they accepted that bosses’ proposals would “form the basis” of a settlement they would recommend to their members. Most of the Civil Service unions complied but PCS, the Prison Officers Association and Unite refused.
The judges said it was “not surprising [they] were unable to give such a commitment.”
In their judgement, Lord Justice Sales and Ms Justice Whipple said: “There was no basis on which the minister was entitled to exclude [PCS] from the consultation.”
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka hailed the judgement as a “major victory,” saying that the government had displayed “utter contempt” towards its own workers.
“Ministers must have known they were breaking the law by excluding us, yet they went ahead anyway,” he said.
“In trying to write us out of the script the government only succeeded in revealing how weak and vulnerable the Tories really are.”
The Cabinet Office said it would appeal against the ruling.