Jettisoning of £95,000 ‘cap’ on departing public sector employees hailed as ‘a victory’ by Unite

Unite the union has hailed the government’s U-turn on public sector employees having their exit payments capped at £95,000 as a 'great victory’.

The government has revoked The Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations which would have enforced the cap as it is now deemed to have ‘unintended consequences’.

This follows a campaign at which Unite was at the forefront that would have seen a judicial review into the regulations in the spring, until minsters U-turned on Friday (12 February). The regulations came into force in November 2020.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “We warmly welcome this decision by the government to jettison the £95,000 cap that would have adversely affected dedicated longing–serving public servants earning relatively-low salaries of £25,000-a-year.

“A potential injustice that would have dramatically lowered morale in the workforce has been averted and Unite is pleased to have played its part in achieving this victory.

“Unite vigorously opposed the government’s arbitrary cap to restrict public sector exit payments. These punitive changes had been introduced with no basis in evidence, and were part of a continued erosion of public sector terms and conditions.

“We have always believed that compensation schemes should be agreed through collective bargaining rather than government diktat.

“We are also delighted that any employee affected by the ‘cap’ while it was in place can now request the amount he or she would have received had the ‘cap’ not existed by contacting their former employer directly.

“The ‘cap’ was a manifestation of the sustained ideological attack that the Tories have engaged in against the public sector and its millions of hardworking staff since they came to power in 2010.

“However, on this occasion, ministers have seen sense and listened to the cogent arguments put forward by Unite and others.”

Unite national officer for local government Jim Kennedy said: “It is great news that such an injustice has been halted. After a lifetime of serving and sustaining our communities tens of thousands of local government workers will now get what they are rightly entitled to.

“I am proud that Unite was at the forefront of challenging this disgraceful attack on low paid loyal local government workers. Though today we have stopped another attack by the Tories on public sector workers, we don’t and won’t forget the underfunding, cuts, privatisations and redundancies across the public sector and their disdain for the public sector delivery of public services. The fight continues.”