Public services in the aftermath of the economic crisis
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Public services in the aftermath of the economic crisis: . how social dialogue influences changes in public sector employment relations in the UK. Stephen Bach Alexandra Stroleny King’s College London. Introduction. 2010: Conservative-led Coalition  focus: fiscal consolidation

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Public services in the aftermath of the economic crisis

Public services in the aftermath of the economic crisis:

how social dialogue influences changes in public sector employment relations in the UK

Stephen Bach

Alexandra Stroleny

King’s College London


Introduction

Introduction

  • 2010: Conservative-led Coalition

     focus: fiscal consolidation

  • qualitative: familiar Conservative Party themes of outsourcing, local pay and deprivileging PS IR

  • quantitative: sharp reductions in public expenditure  PS employment cuts + incomes policy based on a two year wage freeze

    limited scope for workforce engagement & dialogue with PS trade unions


Austerity drivers

Austerity - Drivers

  • Deficit  speed & depth

  • 2010 Comprehensive Spending review:

  • Aim: deficit reduction: 2009: 8.4% of GDP 2015: 0.4 %

    2. Ideology + underlying economic assumptions

  • No consultation with TUs + employers prior to announcement of wage freeze

  • three quarters of deficit reduction linked to public spending cuts


Public services in the aftermath of the economic crisis

Planned cuts to UK spending: historical record – IFS 2012


General government employment obr march forecast

General Government Employment – OBR: March Forecast


Measures wages

Measures - Wages

  • 2- year pay freeze (2011-12 & 2012-2013 ) 2 years: pay awards - 1% cap

  • across all areas of PS, staff earning £21,000 or less: some protection

  • progression arrangements - annual pay increments average PS pay still growing in nominal (but not real) terms

  • Pension changes 30th Nov strike  some concessions  dispute settled in local gov, partly in civil service, remains unsettled in NHS


Local government

Local Government

  • LGA (Local Government Association)

  • NJC (National Joint Council for Local Government Services)

  • Local auth. = greatest formal employer autonomy + discretion over how match pay scales to national negotiated pay spine  ‘single status’ national framework (‘Green Book’) -some local variation – Part 2 vs. 3


Local government1

Local Government

  • 2010staffing reductions, changes in allowances for working anti-social hours, reduced mileage rates for car users, reduced sickness entitlement & annual leave

  • explicit trade-offs offered to workforce reg. contractually entitled incremental progressionstaff ballots – different outcomes

  • Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992


Case studies

Case Studies


Challenges

Challenges

  • Employers  more assertive:

  • austerity => seeking changes

  • challenge of maintaining staff engagement & morale

  • HR capabilities to manage change effectively ?

  • TU weaker (membership + density => fall)

    options:

  • concession bargaining

  • not engage with employers

  • Attempt to mobilise & risk marginalisation


Conclusion

Conclusion

  • Quantitative: job cuts, wage freeze; shrink state

  • Qualitative: expansion of a variety of providers, erode national systems of collective bargaining

  • Social dialogue: Nationally – limited

    Locally - variations


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