Headlines: February 2nd, 1999

The public sector pay settlement announced yesterday is designed to move
forward the modernisation programme. It also signals the end of across the
board pay increases and the widening of differentials between the main pack
and the high achievers.

Improved performance and higher standards cannot be achieved without
adequate resources. Health and education targets and the delivery of over
500 targets by central departments as part of the Public Service Agreements
depend on people being available to deliver them. By targeting higher rises
at newly qualified nurses and head teachers, the potential threats to
delivering results have been countered. Central departments are not
suffering staff shortages, so senior civil servants are given the smallest

The awards open up the way for much higher earnings for the high achievers.
Teachers will be able to earn up to 35,000 pounds and head teachers up to
70,000 pounds. Although this will cause some discontent among the many who
feel these achievements are beyond their reach, the overall high settlement
can be claimed as proof that public servants are valued.

It is clear from the presentation of the settlement that the pay
arrangements are no longer viewed just as a burden on the exchequer, but
rather as an investment in the modernisation programme. The platform has
been set up now for further careful targeting of above average increase in
later years.