Opinion Former Article

Union hits back over MOD bonuses

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) hit back today over media reports on Ministry of Defence (MoD) bonuses and accused the Conservatives of misrepresenting civilian defence staff to score political points.

Far from being faceless bureaucrats, 16,000 PCS members in the MoD provide security, training, procurement and logistics support, as well as working directly alongside the military in Afghanistan and Iraq. Starting salaries are as low as £14,500, with many low paid workers receiving a pay cut this year.

The average one off 'bonus' payment for PCS members, which has increasingly replaced pay rises, was between £300 and £400. These payments are non-pensionable and non-consolidated and have become an increasing feature of pay systems in the civil service.

Rather than trying to create a false divide between the armed forces and civilian staff, the union called on the Conservatives and those criticising the pay arrangements to recognise that MoD staff and our armed forces are part of the same team.

PCS also highlighted the scandalous waste of billions of pounds in the MoD equipment programme and the employment of thousands of non-deployable service personnel. The union went on to warn that support for our armed forces on the frontline was being undermined by 25,000 job cuts in the MoD and the billions wasted on failed privatisations..

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: "If civilian staff in the Mod were receiving huge bonuses the anger expressed by families of soldiers on the frontline would be understandable, but it's not true. With pay cuts and starting salaries as low as £14,500, the average bonus for PCS members was between £300 and £400. They will feel let down at being misrepresented in an attempt to score political points and create a false divide between them and their colleagues in armed forces. Faced with 25,000 job cuts civilian staff in the MoD are doing a vital job in supporting the military here in the UK and in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Recently over 1,000 MoD civilian staff had to receive an emergency payment because their pay had fallen below the national minimum wage. Rather than receiving a paltry non-pensionable bonus they would prefer a decent pay rise and to be valued by the politicians for the important work they do."

Notes:

·For further information, interviews and comment please contact Alex Flynn PCS national press officer on 020 7801 2747 or 07833 978216.

PCS, the Public and Commercial Services Union is the union representing civil and public servants in central government. It has more than 300,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies. It also represents workers in parts of government transferred to the private sector. PCS is the UK's sixth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the president is Janice Godrich.

Alex Flynn
National Press Officer
Public and Commercial Services Union
160 Falcon Rd
London SW11 2LN

Direct line: 020 7801 2747
Mobile: 07833 978 216
Fax: 020 7924 1847

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