The department announced in November that it intended to implement the terms of its final 2018 pay offer – 1.5% of the paybill. It was not agreed by the trade unions and the negotiations were effectively ended by the department deciding to implement the offer.
Prospect national secretary Dave Allen said: “The department’s failure to consider putting a business case to the Treasury so that it could offer a half decent pay rise was wrong and utterly failed to understand the anger and expectations of its staff.”
Given the scale of organisational change in DEFRA and subsequent pay disparities, the unions believed there were sufficient grounds for the department to make the case to the Treasury for additional funding.
But Defra has consistently refused, arguing that there are no grounds to do so.
“The award is constrained by artificial limits, does nothing to address specialist pay, staff at the top of the pay scale or the absence of pay progression.
“It will once again deliver a large element of non-consolidated pay (a one-off payment that doesn’t count towards a pension) and fails to tackle the pay disparities across DEFRA,” added Allen.
He said Prospect would be seeking urgent talks with the department about how to tackle these issues.