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Ministers accused of ‘cowardice’ over anonymous threats to civil servants’ pay

TORY ministers were accused of “the height of cowardice” today following anonymous briefings saying Civil Service wages could be docked if staff do not get back to their offices.

Britain’s biggest Civil Service union also warned of a “swift industrial response – including strike action” if attempts were made to dock wages of staff still working from home.

The row broke after an unnamed Cabinet minister suggested that officials should have their pay docked if they refuse to return to the office after working from home during the pandemic.

The minister was quoted as saying: ““People who have been working from home aren’t paying their commuting costs so they have had a de facto pay rise, so that is unfair on those who are going into work.

“If people aren’t going into work, they don’t deserve the terms and conditions they get if they are going into work.”

But the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) responded: “It is the height of cowardice for ministers to anonymously brief the media about docking civil servants’ pay for not returning to the office.

“PCS is engaged in serious discussions with the Cabinet Office about how we can embrace the post-pandemic world with hybrid working and keeping staff safe. Any attempt to dock pay for civil servants for any reason would be met with a swift industrial response, potentially including strike action.”

And the union for the most senior civil servants, the First Division Association (FDA), described the comments as “insulting.”

General secretary Dave Penman said: “What should matter to ministers is whether public services are being delivered effectively, not where individual civil servants are sitting on a particular day.”


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