Two trade unions indicate a breakthrough in the dispute with the government

Two civil service unions have made progress in their pay disputes with the government, with one organization canceling a planned walkout and the other calling off a strike.

Prospect, which represents tens of thousands of civil servants, including members in technical, managerial and academic roles, called off a strike planned for next month over its dispute over pay and conditions.

The FDA, which represents senior public officials, suspended the vote of its members, which was due to start next Tuesday.

Both unions reported in separate statements on Friday that the government had issued new invitations to negotiations.

A third union representing civil servants, the Public and Commercial Services Union, told the Financial Times it “hopes for meaningful talks” with the government next week.

PCS staged its third national walkout over pay, pensions and jobs in April. It recently renewed its six-month mandate for further action, but has no plans for a national strike.

But on Friday, the union announced strikes for workers at Swansea’s driver and vehicle licensing agencies, making it 15 consecutive days of action from June 11.

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It comes after unions expressed anger when earlier talks resulted in an average pay offer of around 4.5 per cent, significantly lower than public sector workers. The UK faces six months of widespread strikes as workers protest cuts in real wages amid soaring inflation.

Commenting on the decision to suspend Prospect on June 7, Secretary General Mike Clancy said: “We have agreed to suspend our planned strikes because the Government has indicated its willingness to engage in meaningful negotiations.

“During the debate we made it clear that our members should not be treated any worse than other public sector workers and deserve a pay deal that recognizes the cost of living crisis that began last year.”

He said Prospect had called off the strike in order to participate in talks in “good faith”, but warned: “We will hold our actions until the strike and will review this position in the light of the promised negotiations.”

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The FDA, meanwhile, reversed a decision to vote on national action over pay, which would have been the union’s first such vote in 40 years.

Dave Penman, the FDA’s secretary-general, said the threat of industrial action was “intended to send a clear message” that the government had “failed to demonstrate that it values ​​the public service equally with the rest of the public sector”.

He said the call for talks “could signal that the government intends to change its approach to pay for this year”, but added: “If not, the union is prepared to go ahead with the mass action vote we have prepared. for.”

The Cabinet Office said the government had “engaged in an open dialogue with the unions”, adding: “We have met with the unions concerned to understand what role the Cabinet Office can play in addressing their concerns and where possible avoiding organized action”.