Superannuation Bill

Memorandum submitted by Chris Kolek (SU 47)

1. I am employed full-time by a Non-Departmental Public Body called the Commission for Rural Communities, doing a job that I care passionately about and working hard to ensure that rural areas are not unduly disadvantaged by government policies or practice.

2. In June 2010, the Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced that the organisation I work so tirelessly for will be "abolished" implying that what we have been doing over the years is somehow wasteful – in spite of evidence to the contrary from independent stakeholder surveys.

3. Personally, I should emphasise that I have worked hard for the Government for over 16 years, regularly and without complaint working harder and longer hours than contracted or paid to do. And yet I now find myself being described as a "big loser" as Government prepares to not only make me redundant but significantly change the Civil Service Compensatory Scheme and therefore the Terms and Conditions of my employment.

4. I ask the Committee to challenge the justification for the cap on payments (Clause 1) under the Civil Service Compensatory Scheme for two reasons:

5. Firstly, the proposed cap on the employment severance compensation payment is justified politically not only as necessary to reduce the costs of cutting jobs in government, but to bring the scheme in line with the private sector. I dispute such justification and question precisely which part of the private sector it is meant to align with? This seems unclear and it would appear rather selective in ignoring the many other quantifiable benefits of the terms and conditions of private sector employment such as bonus payments. Therefore I ask the Committee to re-consider the arbitrary nature of the 12 months (compulsory) and 15 months (voluntary) caps on severance payments.

6. Secondly, the proposed caps will penalise those who have worked longer for government and therefore challenges what each of us actually understands by the meaning of "compensation". For me personally, I can confirm that I applied for, and remained loyal to, my government employers because of the terms and conditions of employment. The Civil Service Compensatory Scheme was attractive and must have played a considerable part in keeping staff like myself who might otherwise have worked in the private sector. It certainly made up for the generally poor salaries and offered me a sense of security (what fools we must be!)

7. If the overarching objective is to reduce costs then restrict the compensation to something that remains affordable, I suggest the maximum of 2 years pay as previously negotiated by the previous Government with the majority of trade unions in agreement.

September 2010