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Chambers & Partners
14/01/2013

Ms A Beavan, Miss Bremner and Mr Potthurst v. Cabinet Office

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Norwich Employment Tribunal

On Friday 13 December the EAT, Singh J dismissed the Cabinet Office’s appeal and confirmed that pay progression was contractual for the relevant staff.  A full report will be included when the written judgment is available.

Tribunal melts Civil Service pay freeze.

In the case of Beavan & Others v Cabinet Office a Norwich employment tribunal has overturned part of the present government Civil Service pay freeze.

Since 2010 pay rates in the Civil Service have been frozen, In addition, the government has refused to advance staff pay for length of service, known as ‘pay progression’, unless the particular staff members can show that progression is for them a contractual entitlement.

The paradoxical effect of the freeze if pay progression is not applied is to reduce rather than freeze the pay bill as senior staff retire, more junior staff are employed and retained staff do not move up the pay ladder.

The Norwich tribunal examined the two year pay settlement covering the 08/09 and 09/10 years for the collection of Whitehall departments known as the Cabinet Office. It found that the introduction by that deal of ‘guaranteed’ pay progression for staff would have been reasonably understood to be something which would survive beyond that particular pay round. In an internal grievance brought by the staff their view of this aspect of the agreement had been dismissed as ‘loose drafting’.

The result is that the staff are contractually entitled to pay progression and those who have not had their pay uprated have suffered unlawful deductions. The case was brought in the name of three sample employees but will have wide application in the relevant departments.

The government has appealed the result to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Robin White of Old Square Chambers, instructed by Andrew James of Thompsons represented the Claimants.

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