media-mythsThe February edition of PCS Defender publishes a letter about the media distortion regarding MoD pay, pensions, bonuses and civil servants in general.  The letter was written to Conservative defence spokesperson Liam Fox MP by a PCS member.  The letter sums up how a great many civil servants feel about the media frenzy that is currently taking place.

By the time your receive this letter, we are hoping that you will have taken time to reflect on your attack on MoD civil servants’ bonuses and realised it was a serious error on your part and a total misjudgment; and be aware of the strength of feeling, anger and frustration that your attack on staff working in defence has caused.

On the back of the furore about MP’s expenses, I am surprised you have got the gall to criticise civil servants about their bonus awards.  In the past few months there has been a constant drip feed of untruths fed into the public domain by the press, media, ministers and MPs about the pay and conditions, pension entitlements, and now bonus awards of civil servants.  We wonder why this is; of course it is to do with the run up to the general election and an attempt to turn the attention away from the MP’s expenses scandal.  Manipulation of statistics for you own political ends can, and indeed does hide the important facts.  The peddling of untruths has given the wrong impression to the general public and more importantly the electorate about MoD civil servants.  They think we are overpaid, receive large bonus awards and gold plated pensions.  This is so far from the truth and you are well aware of this.  So let’s once and for all set the record straight with the real facts that are relevant to us, beginning with the bonus award.

Bonus awards
Before tax, the standard bonus which myself and my wife received was £390 and is a non-pensionable and non-consolidated one off payment, which is what the majority of civil servants received.  Civilian bonuses have become an increasing feature of pay systems throughout the civil service and not just the MoD and is a proportion of the overall pay bill.  As these bonuses are not consolidated or pensionable it is a way of giving us a cheaper pay rise.  But you are already aware of this and choose to manipulate the facts for your own political ends.  Rather than receive a paltry bonus we would prefer a decent pay rise and to be valued by politicians for the work we do in support of the armed forces.

As part of the imposed pay deal, we have had a reduction in our salary of over £3,500 each as a result of a reduction in the E1 grade salary maxima, which equates to a 15% reduction in salary.  This reduction in salary has only happened to the lowest paid MoD civil servants and not to the higher grades.  We both receive £20,074 and that is after working in the civil service for a combined total of over 50 years, myself for 27 years and my wife for 23 years.  Starting salaries are as low as £14,500 and recently over 1,000 MoD civilians had to receive emergency payments because their pay had fallen below the national minimum wage.

The role of the MoD civilian is to support the armed forces and we do in fact cost less than service personnel.  This frees service personnel up to do other tasks.

Pension entitlements
Of course we are going to have the luxury of a golden plated pension upon our retirement.  In the real world away from the headlines of bumper pay offs for mandarins, most civil servants will on average receive a pension of £6,000 and if you take away the high earners, the average falls to just £4,200.  At the moment 61,000 civil service pensioners only receive a gross pension of between £1,000 and £2,000 per year.  These figures as you can see are far from astronomical sums and will not doubt keep us in poverty in our retirement as we will probably just scrape past the threshold for claiming pension credits.

On the horizon in the MoD, we face a reduction of over 25,000 civilian staff and it appears to us that we are being punished with these job cuts, reduced pay and pensions for the indiscretions of the private sector and in particular the banking industry who have brought our economy to the brink of collapse.

As a married couple with no children we do not qualify for any benefit of any kind or tax credits and we have yet to reach the so-called average salary figure even after working in the civil service for a combined total of 50 years.  So I hope you can now understand our frustration and anger at this constant misrepresentation of civilian defence staff (and the civil service as a whole) that appear constantly in the public domain.

We refuse to be used as pawns in your political machinations in the run up to the general election.  All we ask of you and politicians alike is rather than trying to create a false divide between the armed forces and civilian staff, is to recognise that MoD civilians and our armed forces are part of the same team.

We, more than most, know of the sacrifices that our armed forces make on our behalf and fully support them because they deserve to be supplied with the best equipment and to be recompensed fully for the work they do at home and abroad.

I hope you can take these points on board and take every opportunity you can to tell the public the real truth about MoD civilians instead of political point scoring.

8 Comments CherryPie on Feb 10th 2010

8 Responses to “Media Myths – MoD Pay, Pensions and Bonuses”

  1. jameshigham says:

    The grim reaper is most certainly in the genera vicinity in more ways than one. There’s going to be culling.

    • CherryPie says:

      The grim reaper has been around an culling on the quiet for quite some time. Whichever way it goes (I still predict May) a feeding frenzy is coming up! The final result is that everyone apart from those favoured few will lose.

  2. Calumcarr says:

    <emThe final result is that everyone apart from those favoured few will lose.

    Isn’t it always?

    Thanks, CP

  3. Chrissy says:

    I read this last week, it is a very well thought out and eloquent letter.

  4. Excellent work once again!
    Thanks a lot. :)