McVey screw-up costs thousands of DWP staff meagre pay-rise, with insult on top of injury

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Incompetent DWP Secretary Esther McVey

A screw-up – at best – by Work & Pensions (DWP) Secretary Esther McVey means that tens of thousands of DWP employees will be deprived of their paltry 1% annual pay-rise for an indefinite period.

Last Thursday, 7 June, DWP staff received a message via their internal intranet system informing them that they will

  • not receive their pay rise in July
  • not receive any bonus due with it

In typically crass Tory fashion, the intranet message was the sum total of the communication on the issue – staff report that nobody from a senior level has talked to them about it.

Staff should receive a 1.1% pay rise annually on 1 July – the same date every year, so it’s not as though the DWP has been caught unawares – after the DWP and PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union) agreed a four-year pay structure as part of the ‘Employee Deal’ (ED). The deal came with assurances that there would be no disruption or delay to any pay awards.

However, this year’s pay rise and bonuses have been delayed because DWP states that it has not received official guidance from the Treasury – apparently because Esther McVey has not signed it off.

DWP has refused to explain why this failure occurred and says that the Civil Service cannot instruct the Treasury to automatically issue pay rises or bonuses that are due. DWP has also failed to explain why the annual pay rise has to be ‘signed off’ when a four-year agreement was signed in 2016.

According to DWP insiders, Esther McVey should have signed off the guidance in April to instruct the Treasury to pay all pay-rises and bonuses in April with effect from 1 July – but it seems that nothing was done and senior DWP managers have left it until June to inform staff that there has been a delay.

On the face of it, this is a clear breach of contract – as part of the ED agreement annual pay rises and bonuses must be included in July’s salary.

Adding insult to injury, DWP staff have been told by senior managers that there is no indication when Esther McVey will sign off the pay guidance – and that DWP will be meeting with PCS Union again this week to try and resolve the matter.

It seems the DWP has told staff there is no guarantee that the dispute will be resolved before Christmas – but have said that once the pay guidance has been signed off it will be backdated to 1 July.

Staff will not receive any form of compensation for any delay, distress or inconvenience this has caused However, they have been told that they can apply for an advance of their pay rise and bonus – but without any guarantee that it will be agreed.

To make the problem worse, it seems that there are doubts whether the DWP’s human resources/admin will have enough resources to deal with a high volume of requests within a reasonable timescale.

Emergency tax

Some fixed-term staff are due to leave the DWP in July and will not receive their P45 until the pay dispute has been resolved – and the same would apply to any permanent staff leaving the department. This means they will remain on the ’emergency’ tax rate if they start a new job, taking a serious bite out of their take-home pay until the matter is sorted out.

DWP say this is out of their hands and it is the responsibility of the individual to manage their own financial affairs until the pay dispute has been resolved.

Morale throughout DWP, like most other Civil Service departments, is at an all-time low and the pay dispute is considered the final insult. Since 2010, many staff have had pay freezes while others have had a meagre 1% pay rise.

It seems that Esther McVey and her party have as much contempt for those who are trying to administer the sinking benefits system as for those who are forced to rely on it.

A statement released by PCS about the issue says that:

PCS has already raised our concerns with the department and made clear the union does not accept there is any justification for this delay, especially for those payments already enshrined by the Employee Deal Collective Agreement.

Members have rightly pointed out that one of the key “selling points” of ED was the assurance, from the then Permanent Secretary, Robert Devereux, of pay increases being made on time with it being a four year deal and not, therefore, subject to the usual constraints of the Treasury pay remit.

While PCS accepts that members in the grades SEO and above are covered by separate arrangements that are still subject to the Treasury remit being cleared, we do not accept that payments due under ED should be delayed, and expect the department to find an urgent solution to the problem they have created. The intranet message issued by DWP yesterday does not change the reality that the ED money has already been agreed and should not be the subject of Treasury clearance as we received it back in 2016.

PCS has written to DWP today, demanding an urgent meeting, but in the meantime we believe this episode highlights, more than ever, the need for members to fully support the national pay campaign and attend any meetings organised by branches in the coming days and weeks. 

Currently, DWP have failed to implement the pay awards they promised under Employee Deal. The increases due in 2017 were paid on time, from the end of July last year, and continue to be paid monthly in members’ salaries for the 2017/18 pay year. The working patterns you are currently working, as notified in February, remain in that pay year and you should continue working them.

PCS is aware that many members will have started to receive their proposed working patterns for Rotation 4 and further advice will be issued well in advance of the next rotation starting. If the delay in implementing the 2018 pay award element continues then PCS will obviously challenge this with everything at our disposal as well as advising members of any impact it may have on the collective agreement and working patterns. It is currently premature though to envisage this situation continuing and obviously members will be entitled to receive backdated payments for any delay that does occur.

PCS will continue to support members and branches in ensuring the terms of the collective agreement are honoured and adhered to. PCS will challenge any, and all, breaches of the collective agreement when they occur and will not allow the important gains made in these negotiations to be watered down or reneged upon.

This is an important period for our members in DWP and right across the union. The need for decent, across the board pay increases has never been greater, and we must all get fully behind the national campaign to achieve these aims and increase the pressure on the government and our employer to address low pay for all.

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  1. And the same DWP staff will still carry out the thoroughly useless & arrogant twunt’s orders.

    C’est la vie.

  2. ‘Morale throughout DWP, like most other Civil Service departments, is at an all-time low and the pay dispute is considered the final insult.’

    Nothing like the ‘final insults’ they’ve imposed on the poor sods that’ve been made destitute, or those who’ve gone on to do away with theirselves.

    ‘Final insult’ indeed. What are the PCS gonna do about it? Threaten to rip up their £25 M&S vouchers ??


    ” Mr Lloyd said Jobcentre workers had threatened to tear up £25 Marks and Spencer vouchers received for getting claimants off benefits as part of a DWP ‘carrot and stick’ approach. He said: “The carrot is a small one and a number of PCS members from Smethwick were considering tearing up their vouchers in front of IDS to show their feelings over the matter.”

    Never let it be forgotten…

  3. It’s unlawful witholding of wages. I’d go straight to Small Claims but the PCS are a militant union, with a plan and a mandate already for strike action this year, so if McVey doesn’t wind her neck in and capitulate then hopefully there will be strike action. And yes I am dependent on them for PIP and UC but Ill still support them.

  4. Disgraceful way to treat the staff. It shows she has no feelings for either staff or claimants. She does simply because she can .

  5. Perhaps in retaliation the DWP staff can desist from stopping peoples benefits for the most insignificant reasons. How do they like being treated like they have been treating their clients?

    1. Nice notion – NEVER gonna happen.

      JCP “kapo’s” kid needs new school shoes = stop some poor sod(s) dole for bugger all & collect £25 M&S voucher.

      Why JCP frontline staff are not arrested and charged (along with the DWP as a whole) with fraud and bribery defies all reasonable logic.

    2. Never gonna happen.

      Not while JCP worker’s kid needs new school shoes or what-have-ya…Some poor sods are always gonna have their dole taken off them for the most spurious of ‘reasons’ while the DWP offer the ‘kapos’ the bribes to do so.

  6. They lose 1% because their minister forgot. They randomly take 100% off some they deal with for no reason at all. Perhaps they might develop a bit of empathy.

  7. If this was supposed to make anyone feel sorry for them, Nah it didn’t work. Many of us have far less than 25 pounds bonus they get each time someone ( a human being) gets signed off benefits to live on a week. Once utilities, council tax, bedroom tax ( for some) T.v. license etc is payed.

  8. I’ve said it before, Mcvey is one of the most odious MPs in Parliament.
    She is a pure self self self, bent, hypocritcal corrupt, patronising etc, etc.She is one of the worst of the worst.

  9. My union Unite Community is trying to change the Right Wing narrative on welfare and for example tax subsidies and tax reliefs for Big Business ‘Corporate Welfare’ is £79b a year which is equivalent to £3,500 per household.
    The Tories set neighbour against neighbour re welfare which distracts from Tory tax cuts for millionaires who are distant from most peoples lives.
    But we should try to unite workers in the DWP (who have to sell their labour to live and they should get the rate for the job and increases) with those denied work or unable to work and in our campaigns as we do outreach to try and support those for example who are sanctioned we also hope to talk to PCU members.
    Many of the PCU probably hate what they have to do; many years ago I was a junior civil servant and hated my job and left.
    Ironically in a summer I got a short-term post in the DWP making up giros when for months I had been desperately waiting for them because of my socialist principles.
    Whilst the Tories aim to divide and rule we should try to unite.

  10. Those having a go at DWP staff need to give their heads a wobble. Your target should be the fat cat civil servants who are paid hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.

    These people make the decisions on Universal Credit. Most of them haven’t a clue what’s going on. They are lazy, complacent and incompetent.

    As a result, Universal Credit is an absolute shambles.

    Did you know that there are two Universal Credit systems?
    One is known as Live Service. It’s a disaster. In 2014 the decision was taken to ‘reset it’. That means the whole thing was thrown away and started over again at huge cost to the tax payer. There are still close to 400,000 claimants on Live Service. It was only closed to new claimants in February of this year.

    The other UC system is called Full Service. Three years in and it’s nowhere near finished. It’s primitive, slow and unreliable. If you’ve got a complicated claim, it can take an hour to process a payment.

    Because there is no cross checking between the two systems there are thousands of claimants who are being paid TWICE. Once from live service. Once from full service. I won’t say how it happens for obvious reasons, but it’s easy to do. There are other areas in which it is very simple to defraud the system.

    The DWP takes what it calls an ‘iterative’ approach to development. This means making it up as they go along. I’m not exaggerating, it really is that bad. Because of this approach, problems only become apparent when they occur and have to be fixed. With proper planning, those problems could be anticipated.

    As you’ll gather, I work for the DWP. It doesn’t surprise me that they’ve reneged on a pay deal, given the culture of dishonesty that pervades the organisation. That deal was agreed in 2016 in exchange for working extended hours. The staff at the bottom, the ones who do the work, are on less than £18,500. The increase is needed, as is the bonus (paid for meeting targets.)

    And yes, there are some appalling cases reported in the press and many more that aren’t. That’s down to badly thought out and inflexible rules, some staff who don’t do their jobs properly and a few others who are malicious. But most of us try to treat claimants fairly, not least because we’ve been in that position ourselves.

    1. ‘Those having a go at DWP staff need to give their heads a wobble’

      Oh, really?

      Eeverthing is about YOU and how difficult our job is. Bugger-all about the poor sod facing you that has to bear the brunt of your job dissatisfaction, and those you & your colleagues take your frustrations out on.

      You come on here with your piss-poor handwringing excuses, just like plod; palming us off with the bullshit excuse that :'”It’s only a few bad apples” , and: ‘But it’s not us – its the rules’.

      Well it MIGHT be the case – but I very much doubt it. You see, you ALL know a colleague (Even if you deny you’ve done so yourself) who’s stopping people’s dole gratuitously/vindictively, and are doing/ have done f***-all about it.

      So don’t cry to me about this government’s ‘dishonesty’ when you & your colleagues are wifully aiding and abetting that same dishonesty in one form or another; claiming the ‘Nurembdrg defence’ while claiming our £25 M&S vouchers or our easter eggs ffs.

      If you find the job unpleasant/untenable then I’m sure there’s a charity shop or a poundland locally that you could ‘volunteer’ yourself for…

      1. Yeah. I spend every second of every working day, looking for ways to stop claimants’s benefits. There’s a clause in my contract of employment about “evil” and “doing bad things,” which we have to adhere to strictly. That’s why we get the vouchers, although I chose Amazon for mine because of the terrible way they treat employees. In my spare time, I do cruel things to cute furry animals and poke babies with sharp sticks when their mums aren’t looking.

        Some advice Toffee brain. Stay out of the pub. Lose the hysterics. Go to job centre every two weeks and convince your work coach that you really want a job. That way you won’t get your benefits stopped. Some claimants are sanctioned unfairly. You aren’t one of them.

      2. Here we have your archetypal JCP/DWP employee (kapo), folks. Katie knows everything about me from a single post that was (justifiably, by her response) critical of her & her type.

        Telling me to: ‘Stay out of the pub’. That’s what I do with the meagre benefits (Carer’s allowance and Income Support) I rely on to survive. I get pissed all the time courtesy of your taxes – the proof’s there for all to read, isn’t it, Katie?

        This is the attitude of the lot of them. Every. Single. One. Don’t dare tell the truth about them or else they’ll perpetuate the myth spread far & wide by the right wing rags that anyone on any benefit is a ‘scrounger’.

        Oh, but Katie and her workmates will gleefully put you into abject penury anyway, just on a whim. You see, it’s her who decides if you’re ‘worthy’ or not. I can only sympathise with the poor sods who have to front you once a fortnight.

        Katie, I’ve bought & sold your type hundreds of times over. You’re all too easy. All of you JCP staff. There isn’t one of you couldn’t even hope to compete with someone of any modicum of intellect; as you’ve made evident.

        Liars, bullys, cheats and tory shills, the lot of you. You’ve only got what you deserve, In fact, getting any payrise instead of a jail sentence for fraud is far more than you deserve.

        So, with that in mind, you can take your ‘advice’ and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.

  11. PS for ‘our’ read ”Your’

    The ‘Y’ on my keyboard is a right temperamental barsteward (So is the ‘C’ ) and has to be pressed with force.

  12. I concur with what they both have to write about!
    In writing that, it takes us away from the facts about McVey!
    She has a plan in mind that will make the Union do the wrong thing, so she can Grandstand on saving the taxpayer money and maybe bringing the public on side because of those who are in greater need on their reliance of welfare will be made to suffer more than they are now! Before the Union fall into her trap, by making the mistake of walking their members out on strike to be hated, even more than they are now!
    Think Long and hard, before going down that road and making you, the most hated UNION in existence, along with all your members!
    If at all possible,Hated even more than this “Tory Government, along with ESTHER McVEY”!
    “Do not give them that power again”!

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