Headlines: May 11th, 2010

The High Court has ruled in favour of a trade union trying to block measures that would reduce the level of redundancy pay for civil servants. Lawyers representing the Public and Commercial Services Union argued that changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme, which were made without agreement, were unlawful.

Mr Justice Sales upheld an application from the union for a judicial review and ruled that the changes should be quashed. The dispute over the changes had led to a series of strikes by staff in Jobcentres, benefit offices, courts, ports and driving test centres as well as in Whitehall departments.

The PCS claimed the changes would mean existing staff losing up to a third of their entitlements if they were made redundant. The union’s solicitor, Richard Arthur said if the Government wanted to alter rights which had been agreed for civil servants it had to get the agreement of the unions. “That is what the law says, and that is what the judge has ruled today,” he said.

The PCS said its position was not that no change was appropriate, but that the changes introduced had gone too far in their impact on existing staff who had given loyal service over the years.The Government argued that it had reached agreement with other trade unions over the changes.