News on pay - Cafcass to submit a business case for pay award
As members will be aware, discussions have been taking place between the Unions and the Employer over recent weeks in an effort to support the Employer in making a robust business case to the MoJ/Treasury for the necessary funding to respond to the unions’ joint pay claim.
It will come as no surprise that despite the constructive approach shown by both sides, these talks have posed a number of challenges. Firstly, around the restrictive Government pay remit, which limits Cafcass from going beyond a 2+1% award envelope. Secondly, we have seen some quite remarkable political developments of late, and an ongoing PM leadership contest which, putting it bluntly, has taken priority over the urgent issues being faced by working people in coping with the cost of living crisis and has closed the route for unions to take their case directly to the relevant Minister. Then, over the last seven days we have seen the recommendations from Pay Review Bodies (between 4-5% pay rises) and the outcome from the Local Government negotiations (£1,925 on NJC pay points wef 1st April and a 4.04% increase on all allowances). It is worth remembering that even these awards represent pay cuts in real terms. See also: https://local.gov.uk/our-support/workforce-and-hr-support/local-government-services/green-book-payscales-and-other-7
We understand that the Employer will be writing to staff today to explain the pay remit process and their difficulties in meeting the unions claims, along with some welcome news about allowances and overtime payments, but the standpoint of Napo and UNISON is clear. While it’s not the fault of the Employer that they have been landed with an insulting pay remit, our members will be expecting senior management to do everything possible to impress upon the MoJ/Treasury that more cash must be made available to allow for credible negotiations, especially in light of the outcomes reported above. With the increase in inflation and utility bills still set to bite in the Autumn, on top of the last decade of dismal, if any, pay awards, our members are increasingly contacting us to say how desperate they are for a pay rise that will go some way to helping them make ends meet.
The alternative to meaningful negotiations is the prospect of the unions having to recommend rejection of the formal pay offer when it arrives as being sub-standard, and consulting with members on the possibility of industrial action following each union’s procedures. This, would as always be a last resort as is the case for any other union currently involved in action over an adequate pay rise.
The Employer will now be submitting a business case, which we know will probably take a few weeks to be processed by the relevant authorities, which is not helped by the current state of inertia in Government. We stand ready to continue in our negotiations to fight for a fair pay offer for our members.