Civil Service Redundancy Scheme and Land Registry. Another frustrating announcement.

It’s all been quiet on the Civil Service Redundancy scheme since the last announcement on 21 May. But today I noticed a couple of facebook statuses that indicated a new announcement may have been made. Things like this:

I wish that they could sort out our compensation scheme once and for all. It is scandalous so many people are now feeling very stressed and uncertain with today’s annoncement. What a joke. Sorry that is my rant over.

I’m now more confused than ever about the redundancy situation. Every time I think I have it sorted in my head, it just gets more confusing!

So I asked what was going on; an email was issued to all staff at the three offices that Land Registry is closing, and someone kindly forwarded it to me at home.

CIVIL SERVICE COMPENSATION SCHEME

This is a joint message from Management and DTUS (Ed: that’s “Departmental Trades Union Side”. I think.)

Further to the email issued on 21 May regarding the CSCS, we have now received an update from the Cabinet Office and this is to inform you of what we have been advised.

The Cabinet Office and PCS (Public and Civil Servants Union) will be returning to the High Court today to seek clarification on the Judicial Review, in particular:

    · The extent of the quashing order – namely whether the whole scheme should be quashed or just the new Compulsory Redundancy terms; and· The extent of “accrued rights” protection

We have be given no official indication of when we are likely to hear the outcome of this hearing. Until this is clarified we have been given permission to progress Compulsory Early Retirement or Compulsory Early Severance applications on the existing (old) scheme only to a  last day of service of no later than 31 July 2010.

Those who have already requested a release date before 31 July 2010 will now be progressed and HR will be contacting you.

Anyone wishing to be considered for an earlier release date than already indicated should in the first instance email the transition team.

PCS addition

Discussion in Court focuses on the extent of the ruling by the Court, both sides agree it covers the new compulsory terms in that it protects accrued rights under compulsory redundancies. i.e. the old scheme for compulsory redundancies.

The discussions will focus on the impact to voluntary redundancy schemes. PCS expects  the decision of the Judge will come quickly after today (9/6/10) hearing. Certainly well before the 31st July 2010. PCS expects that this will be followed by negotiations between the PCS and Cabinet office.

We will update you as soon as we hear anything further.

As I wasn’t there (well, it is a Wednesday) I didn’t get to see the immediate reaction to the email, but I’m told that not a lot of work got done – once again – as people spend time pondering the meaning of it all. On the face of it, it looks like all those who had originally said they wanted to go before the end of July now can (everything had been frozen after the previous announcement, so even those people were in limbo) and that if you’ve given a later date and want to bring it forward you can do so. No mention of what happens if you haven’t given a date yet, if I’m not mistaken, although that might be me reading it in a very legalistic manner. And all this is still simply a “holding” position. Things could change all over again once the High Court makes a decision. But for those of us – like me – who were planning to stay till later and still get the existing scheme it’s causing a bit of a panic. Are we going to have to get out much, much sooner than we expected? The new scheme (in the form that was available until the judicial review) would be approximately half as generous for me.

Here are a couple more comments I’ve picked up from folk:

More uncertainty and loads of speculation. Not much got done today! According to the PCS website, the judge has reserved judgement today, and will report back in “due course” – who knows how long that will be.

What has got people really spooked is that there is a cut off point of 31/7/10 to leave under the old terms but this is only until todays court findings are clarified. It may be just scaremongering but peple have been in tears because they just dont know what to do.

And there’s no doubt that a lot of people* are very frustrated by the PCS. If they hadn’t seen the need to take this to a judicial review in the first place, we’d still be expecting to have the old scheme available right up until the end of March next year.

(*And, yes, that includes me. And, yes, I know some people from the PCS read this.)

 UPDATE: Here’s the full announcement from the union website:

Following a hearing at the High Court today, Mr Justice Sales will make a final order in due course. More information will be published as soon as it is available.

The judge ruled on 10 May that the previous government acted unlawfully when it introduced, without PCS’s agreement, a new redundancy scheme reducing the rights staff had accrued over time.

Both sides were then asked to make final legal submissions to agree the terms of an order to quash amendments that the government had claimed were effective from 1 April. No agreement was reached and we returned to court today for a final hearing.

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