A union leader is calling on the prime minister and other government officials to end the ‘culture war’ against civil servants following attacks on their working arrangements.
Dave Penman, secretary general of the FDA, which represents senior officials at the service, attacked the government for “going to war” with the very people he said were delivering its agenda.
At the union’s annual conference in London, Mr Penman singled out Government Efficiency Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg for his “crass, condescending, passive-aggressive little note to people actually providing vital public services”.
The minister, who has said civil servants should stop working from home, left a note for civil servants saying: “Sorry you weren’t there when I visited”.
The note, printed on Government paper and titled Mr Rees-Mogg, was left on empty desks and read: “Looking forward to seeing you in the office very soon.”
Mr. Penman said it was hard to imagine a time in the FDA’s 100-year history when the union was needed more by officials.
In a message to the Prime Minister, Mr Penman will say: “You say you want a brilliant civil service and you want to attract the brightest and best to join it.
“Well, that’s not the right way.
“Challenge us to deliver, be clear about your priorities, but step back and let those whose job it is to run the service get on with it.
“No more micromanagement, no more anonymous briefings.
“You do your job and let the public service administration do its job.”
Mr Penman will tell delegates it was good to meet in person, adding: “There are some in government and in the press who might doubt that I really mean it.
“It feels like just the last two years I’ve been asked for the latest anonymous briefing on officers working from home.
“There are some who want to paint a picture of the public service and this union that is committed to 100% working from home, regardless of the type of work.
“There are those who talk about working from home or the office as a binary choice because it fits their agenda, which has little to do with the best way to run public services.”
Mr Penman will say that while private industry has embraced the “quiet revolution” of labor practices over the past two years, bringing efficiency gains to employers and greater flexibility for workers, Jacob Rees-Mogg “has been wandering around Whitehall with his clipboard and his Clicker that counts people at desks”.
He will add: “It’s like he doesn’t understand that the majority of officers are outside the M25.
“Tens of thousands of officers in those famous red wall seats, all told to forget flexible working.”
On paying the public sector, Mr. Penman will say applause doesn’t pay gas bills.
“As we face the worst cost of living crisis since the 1970s, the government’s response to public sector wages has been easy as usual.
“Inflation may hit 10% by the fall, but in the public sector, the Treasury has determined that the standard pay rise rate will be around 2%.
“After a decade of wage freezes, followed by caps and a pause, civil servant salaries are already down 18% in real terms.
“So not only will government policy this year become a real emergency, the public sector will simply fall further behind the private sector.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/civil-servants-union-chief-blasts-26940490 Civil servants union leader blasts Tories and Jacob Rees-Mogg for 'gone to war'