Civil servants 'must work longer hours'

Annual leave and sick pay for around 450,000 public sector employees could be cut under a wide-ranging review of civil service employment terms and conditions, it emerged last night.

Employers, including Government departments and agencies, have been told to review terms and conditions of staff with the intention of scaling them back, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union claimed.

A leaked Cabinet Office document sent to departmental directors of human resources said all terms, conditions, policies and agreements are to be reviewed. That included working hours, annual leave, sick pay, childcare, flexitime, part-time working, and job sharing.

"Amid an imposed pay freeze, and cuts to pensions and redundancy terms, the Cabinet Office now wants to undermine basic working conditions that any decent employer should offer," said PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said the Whitehall reforms would make the civil service "faster, more unified" and "focused on outcomes not process". He added: "Because we want to attract the best staff we will remain an employer with good terms and conditions. However, while there has been significant change in pay and pensions, there are other terms and conditions that have not been updated."

The PCS said the review followed a pay freeze and cuts to pensions and redundancy terms, and plans to reduce trade union "facility time" in the civil service.