Forestry Commission Trade Unions -

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Pay 2016-17

Following this year’s pay talks, FCTU received the 2016 pay offer and we were again very disappointed at the lack of any real award for our members. The continued 1% pay cap is part of a prolonged attack on the living standards of those working in the Civil Service. FCTU therefore rejected the offer; with the constituent unions opting not to hold a ballot of their membership. FCTU would not be able to accept any offer within the restrictions of the government’s current pay policy and caps.

In rejecting the offer, we referred back to our pay claim and the fair and reasonable set of demands made, which sought to address both the decline in pay and the unfairness of the current pay system. FCTU will continue to campaign as joint unions on these aims, for which equality will be a central issue. With the removal of progression and the continuing leapfrogging issue, equal pay claims and legal challenges are now a reality; with discrimination and growing unfairness resulting across the pay system.

Despite firmly rejecting this offer, we welcomed that the issue of non-consolidated rises was taken into account when constructing the proposal. The informal talks held earlier this year were helpful and the call for consolidating all increases was heard in these talks. Furthermore, as a result of the informal pay talks, a considerable effort was made this year by the FC to try and gain approval from the Treasury on using existing budgets to address the remaining pay leapfrogging issue outside of the pay remit. This was unfortunately denied by the government as it would be seen as operating outside of government policy and did not meet the very limited criteria for which such a proposal would be accepted. We are dismayed at this stance and FCTU will wish to take every opportunity to pursue this further in future pay talks to have the extremely unfair leapfrogging issue finally eradicated from the pay system. We have therefore proposed to hold further discussions on this and the wider pay system issues at the earliest opportunity.

Regrettably, FCTU have been informed that the pay offer will be imposed despite our rejection. Our members working for the Forestry Commission deserve to be properly rewarded for the valuable work that they do. The effects of a real decline in pay over several years are being felt and this is not a sustainable situation for staff or the organisation. Our position therefore remains that we are in pay dispute and we will continue to campaign on pay until a fair and proper pay rise is implemented.