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Civil Service

Making the Civil Service work for modern Britain

Matthew Hancock, Minister for the Cabinet Office

If we are going to have a truly national Civil Service that serves modern Britain, it is imperative that we make the Civil Service more representative of the country at large.

One in three young people in Britain today are from working class backgrounds, as are 23 per cent of graduates from the top third of universities and 11 per cent of those from Oxbridge. But just 7 per cent of applicants to the Civil Service Fast Stream, and only 3.5 per cent of those who are successful, are from working-class backgrounds.

This isn’t good enough.

We must get better at recruiting from a wider talent pool, and ensure that the ladder to the top can be climbed by all.

I am proud to have helped introduce the Fast Track Apprenticeship Scheme to broaden access - but this is just the start.

Today, the 160th anniversary of the Civil Service Commission, we must respond to the digital revolution, the demand for user-focused services, how we support innovation and the freedom to try new things, and how, in an era of spending restraint, we will deliver better services and still achieve savings for a fraction of the cost.

My vision for the Civil Service in five years' time is of an organisation confidently answering these big questions while nurturing its workforce so that it not only remains the best in the world but gets even better.

So, I will continue the tireless work of my predecessor Francis Maude working in tandem with the Chief Executive of the Civil Service, John Manzoni, accelerating the pace of change. I believe completing the job we’ve begun will allow us to develop Civil Service careers that are as good as any at Google, but driven by a public service mission they simply can’t compete with.

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  1. Comment by Christopher posted on

    Does you vision for a modern workforce exclude the disabled or people from certain backgrounds.
    Why do people who are not in the clique or reside in certain areas seem to be bullied and denied equality
    In my case, my condition is endorsed by both Occupational Health reports, the first prior to my operation, The second Occupational Health report, conducted 18/09/14, after my operation.

    To clarify, in my case, there is a risk my heart could stop completely, for example, when going to sleep – clearly an adverse effect on a normal day to day activity and as such my disability should not be in question.
    Managers discretion seems to be the get out clause to most issues in this office and the sensitive subject dealt with via one to one communication without representation.
    The only way forward to rectify this issue and many others at this office would be for the people involved to go to tribunal despite asking for a meeting with senior managers to raise concerns.

    HMPO have not adhered to the equality act and have failed to take responsibility for the actions of a management team who are not accountable in any way despite the staff survey suggesting equality, Bullying is a part of the culture in this particular office.

  2. Comment by Paul posted on

    I have been a civil servant for over 20 years and have seen my Department adopt different methods and styles of recruitment.

    Whilst degrees and qualifications clearly demonstrates an individual's commitment, drive and determination, staffs whom have entered the Civil Service with minimal qualifications and climbed the ladder on merit also demonstrate these qualities, in my view.

    In my opinion the Civil Service should pride itself on being a diverse and equal opportunities employer. They should consider the benefits of employing graduates and other external candidates but should also nurture and encourage the talents of their existing staff.

  3. Comment by Nigel posted on

    I thought this country had done away with 'class' years ago. Apparently not in the CS. Oh, and on the point of degrees etc, I have post grad quals in Fraud Management specialising in the use of IT in investigations and electronic presentation of evidence, particularly useful in modernising legal processes. This has been consistantly undervalued and often disregarded.

  4. Comment by Dave C posted on

    Why does the CS have to be representative of the population as a whole? What does that achieve, beyond filling an arbitrary quota?

    I joined having previously worked as a lorry driver and plumber. Is there a plan to make sure 10% of plumbers are Upper Class? If people have the aptitude and desire to work for the CS, what does it matter whether they are working class, black, gay, Jewish, with three legs and an Irish grandfather?

    Some jobs will tend to attract people from a certain element of society, and as long as everyone is given a fair opportunity, so what?

  5. Comment by Alison posted on

    It worries me that when looking to the future of this vital service we are going back in time to Socio Economic Groupings as a test of our effectiveness, and supposedly as a way of moving forward. Having worked in training for a period of 15 years plus, and in advertising where SEG was seen as the be all and end all. What we discovered over time was that the tables were constantly turning, old ideas of the future of each grouping were again constantly changing and so were not the best way of judging accurately. I also agree with an earlier comment that the ability to work and gain a degree was not always the best judge of skills and logical approach to doing a job on a day to day basis. Degree candidates often lack the staying power and insight necessary to perform regular tasks, as they deem that the tasks need to done only to act as a stepping stone to the next job role. After most of my working life was spent in the private sector where even following promotion, time was spent in training to allow you to perform the promoted role to the best of your ability and become master of the job in question. It never ceases to amaze me that no-one has ever asked me what skills I can bring to the table within the civil service ( not a degree). Promotion seems to be a thing of the past unless you can join the fast track. I in fact joined a Talent Management Group only to find it started out with good intentions, control of the scheme was passed from SEO to SEO and it has fizzled out with no particular aim or purpose in mind, so not surprisingly none was acheived. Be more creative, don't look for outside degrees, look to utilise what you've got.

  6. Comment by Roger Davis posted on

    I trust that your " vision ... of an organisation ... nurturing it's workforce" will include listening to its members and abandoning Francis Maude's unwelcome plan to end check-off for our union subs.

  7. Comment by BME and fed up with it posted on

    As far as I am concerned, there is no science to the civil service appraisal and promotion process.

    It is terribly subjective. Read my lips.

  8. Comment by Hacked off posted on

    Would want a qualified doctor irrespective of some perceived level of social status. Time to ditch the class nonsense. Anyone being paid a salary is working for a living so anyone in employment receiving a salary is working class ie working for a living?? I also object to having rammed down my throat the amounts of salaries EARNED when there are, in my view, many high salaries (and average salaries) PAID to staff who do not necessarily earn (or often deserve) the salaries they receive.

  9. Comment by Andy posted on

    Their vision is to make us poorer but be grateful to have a job, at least until they kick thousands of us out the door. I gave up long ago in believing that any politican can ever really improve things, all they want is to squeeze every last drop of humanity and compassion out of us and turn us into robots.

  10. Comment by Anon1 posted on

    I wish to concur with Alison Smith. I gave up 6 years of my annual leave and spare time to gain my BA (Hons) Business Management only to find my knowledge and skills wasted as, despite my considerable efforts, I was offered no support or encouragement to gain promotion. I have now reluctantly decided to take the VES before I am to old to gain a more rewarding career.

  11. Comment by Anon posted on

    When 80-90% who are "leaving the CS" on VR in our organisation (that is growing its headcount) have 'protected characteristics' (brilliant doublespeak). to be replaced by more middle class fast-trackers who have never done a job outside the public sector, who will spend more time in meetings about dashboards and RAG status, rather than doing anything productive. Is it any wonder why the CS has such low productivity?

  12. Comment by Phil Goodliffe posted on

    It has been argued that two barriers to civil service reform are that Ministers often have the same social and educational background (as civil servants) and Ministerial appointments are often made on the same basis (as the civil service) - so generating shared dependencies, insecurities and mutual understandings (though I couldn't possibly comment)..

  13. Comment by A posted on

    Having a look through the comments of this article has been thoroughly disappointing.
    As a recent joiner of the Civil Service, I can say how impressed I am with the fact that:
    a) Class/ diversity issues are openly discussed, with all levels of seniority engaged and not afraid to open it to the fore. (I don't think it's such a common occurrence to receive emails, attend talks and debates and read articles on this topic from senior board members in most big companies). And
    b) When I look around at my colleagues, although admittedly there are a lot of white males from the middle class, there is also more diversity (and not just in the lower levels of staff) than you may see in the private sector. A great example (although sadly no longer in the Civil Service) is Sharon White- a black female from an immigrant background, and the 2nd most powerful person at the Treasury. I'm also particularly impressed with how disability is addressed, and how mindful managers are of it.

    Now I understand that obviously, there is still some way to go, I think some of those leaving comments don't realise how lucky they are to be working for such a great institution that is openly willing to speak about and work on these challenges.

    • Replies to A>

      Comment by A Lifeson. posted on

      The pertinent bit in your comment is "as a recent joiner".......

      Give it a few years and you'll understand what the rest of the commenters here actually mean.

    • Replies to A>

      Comment by Steve posted on

      It's worth bearing in mind that however bad you think the Civil Service is in terms of diversity, we consistently do much better than other sectors on most measures of diversity.

      And it might be suicidal here, but I'll admit to being a graduate of the fast stream. I agree with some of the comments above. Placements are too short (especially under the new system) and there's no value placed on building subject matter expertise. There's no effort made to link up postings with people's backgrounds, which makes this worse.

      But contrary to some of the claims made here, most people on the fast stream have done other jobs before joining it. In the department I joined those starting had on average 5 years post-graduate experience. A significant proportion are in-service (in the department that I joined, it was at about 1/3). Many are privately educated and/or went to Oxbridge (or similar), but that may be to do with self-selection - the kids at my state school had never heard of a 'civil servant'. The application process is blind - you aren't given the chance to say where you went to school or university.

      Don't get me wrong - I'd abolish the fast stream too. Not because I don't think we need graduate schemes, but because I think we need to do better at bringing people in with the specific skills to do a job, and then building on those skills with a structured programme of placements so we end up with some really world-class expertise. The fast stream is the last bastion of the generalist and we need to let go of the idea of the generalist'. It's just a nicer word for 'amateur'.

  14. Comment by Phil Goodliffe posted on

    Civil Service Commission website reports “The Lord Fulton’s committee report in 1968 determined that civil servants lack professionalism and skills for their position as well as that they are really remote to people. Only a small minority of administrative class of civil servants were from the working classes and over 50 percent of those at under- and above-secretary levels came from private schools.”
    The civil service in Whitehall and Westminster is primarily about developing generalists into Permanent Secretaries. Individual progress is measured in terms of progress up the grades, not in achievement of outcomes (see the ‘Equal Opportunities’ episode of ‘Yes Minister’). For specialists to succeed they must move into policy areas they know nothing about.
    No value is placed on knowledge and experience of the sector in which you’re working – to the contrary. It is mistakenly believed that commercial and industrial experience can be gained by going on a course or a brief secondment to a trade association rather than by working in commerce and industry.
    The system is predicated on a misguided belief and false confidence that ‘privately-educated Oxbridge-arts graduates’ (overgeneralised for effect) can walk into any situation and make a positive contribution with no unintended consequences. This approach may work in the diplomatic service but in ‘specialist departments like Health, Defence, , BIS, Defra it is outdated and unsustainable..
    But possession is 90% of the law, so this aspect of the Fulton report remains as true today as it did nearly 50 years ago...

  15. Comment by Neil posted on

    I totally agree with Bill. Fast streaming has actually poisoned the Civil Service from where I am sitting.
    Fast streamers appear from nowhere, they spend most of their time doing the next set of training courses, MSc's etc. etc. to gain the next leap up the pay scale, so only pay limited attention on delivering a good days work on the very Projects that they are paid to carry out. Then they leave behind a whole shed full of half completed tasks that they fudged their way through, cherry picking the minimum of headline grabbing results so they look to be high performers before they left.
    So many times the truely skilled staff who gained their SQEP standard through hard graft and years of knowledge gained through experience are overlooked with promotion, and now in the future new pay system that is being rumoured to have remunerations based on Engineering qualifications, once again leaving behind the true skills set in the teams who gained their Engineering skills through many years of experience. Recently we have had many "Enhanced Starting Pay" personnel joining our team, who then repeatedly have to ask the time served experienced members for information on how to do something because they do not have a clue, yet those time served experienced personnel are still being overlooked with regard to pay and promotion. If those time served experienced personnel were to leave many of the DE&S+ departments would collapse big time because it is those true "Engineers" that keep our departments delivering, not the fast stream graduates.

    It is time that the true backbone personnel of our departments were recognised for the contributions they provide to the Teams' successes, not continuing to pay high salaries to the fly-by-nights who stroll through, milk the experienced staff and then leave having done half a job.

    • Replies to Neil>

      Comment by Mr C J Bone posted on

      While Government Ministers persist in placing individuals into a Class System as "Working" or other, I am sure it will continue to engender the politics of envy. I fully understand the need to draw tallent from wide backgrounds as this brings stronger corporate ability. However, we must try to understand our people, the last Government's "Industrial Strategy" reduced the industrial type posts to a minimum so the vast majority of posts are administartive posts, but we still work so are we not working class. I would like to see the term "Industrial" dropped and the conditions of service equalised.

  16. Comment by jonathan posted on

    I notice he says nothing about his governments attempt to relentlessly stripe the civil service of its staff, the diminished value of the civil service pensions, the withdrawal of our right to strike, the reductions in leave for new joiners,the fact that whilst people in the private sector should get substantial pay rises public sector workers shouldn't

    • Replies to jonathan>

      Comment by Richard posted on

      Actually, Jonathan, that's the bit where he says "I will continue the tireless work of my predecessor Francis Maude"...........

  17. Comment by VOTB posted on

    An interesting post which (understandably) doesn't mention the mooted 100,000 jobs that are reported to be being cut over the next five years!

    On topic - defining 'working class' (not unlike the moving target that is 'poverty') is a very thorny issue. Class and income bands are quite different things. Working class is as much (or more?) about mindset, tastes, accent and even vocabulary than it is about pay packet. Different ethnic identities and backgrounds make it even harder to generalise about class. Middle-class is maybe even harder still - there's a popular image of Margot in The Good Life, but in reality many middle-class people have thick accents, watch football and read red-tops

    Now, people at the top do seem to sound posher, on the whole, than everyone else. But is this genuinely that pressing an issue? In my experience there are plenty of people at G7/G6/DD/D level who appear to have working class or lower-middle class backgrounds.

    More interesting is this: "[W]e must respond to the digital revolution, the demand for user-focused services, how we support innovation and the freedom to try new things, and how, in an era of spending restraint, we will deliver better services and still achieve savings for a fraction of the cost."

    To which I'd suggest the first part of call is a major shakeup of the slow, self-defeating and cost-ineffective procurement processes.

    On digital, the Minister might be surprised at how, on closer inspection, some departments, divisons, units and civil servants are already at the leading edge of digital communication. Let's not start with the flat assumption that we aren't.

  18. Comment by Robert posted on

    I am disabled and have worked my way up from Band O to Grade 6. This has not been quick or easy, but I believe there are more opportunities now than ever before for those who are willing to apply themselves. We will still need to recruit externally to some extent, however, as no commercial organisation can overlook the benefits of a graduate recruitment scheme to meet its immediate needs at senior levels.

  19. Comment by John posted on

    Here at the real world at the coal face I can't remember the last time any recruitment took place. Most of the staff in my office are already doing 2 or 3 jobs, and this is only likely to get worse when the successful VERS applicants leave in a couple of months!.
    I have to agree with Bill Phillips previous comment, that a large problem is the existence of the "fast stream" itself.
    There are many extremely talented individuals at the sharp end of the business who merit promotion, and will never have the opportunities presented to these elite few.
    Still look on the bright side...I might get accepted for the next round of VERS........

  20. Comment by A Rhodes posted on

    The whole recruitment policy needs looking at. The forms are getting more time consuming and difficult to complete and then the interview, selection and checking process takes so long that anyone really keen and good gets snapped up elsewhere. We have experienced this so many times recently so are having to pay a fortune out to employ temps. The temps are to "protect" the permanent workforce apparently but now we hear that with all the digital working there will be VEDS available eventually to further reduce the workforce and hopefully this will avoid redundancies. On top of all this there have been no pay increases for five years and no prospect of one any time soon. Any wonder staff are demoralised and not "engaged" anymore!!

  21. Comment by Bill posted on

    Having worked in the DWP, in one form or another, for over 40 years Fast Stream recruitment has almost always been a contentious issue but has changed only marginally. Some years ago I saw a documentary about two people applying for the Fast Stream in the Civil Service. One from Oxford and one from a good "Red Brick" university. The Oxford candidate was dreadful and, apart from a disagreement with the Chair of the selection panel about living next to a nuclear power station, the "Red Brick" applicant was by far the better candidate in my opinion. In fact the woman from Oxford University said, while waiting for the results, that she felt she was so bad that she'd have to think very carefully about joining any organisation that wanted to hire her and thought her performance was good enough. Of course as you probably guessed she was successful and the "Red Brick" graduate was rejected. I also agree that having a degree is a complete waste of time in the Civil Service unless it's a requirement for a certain job; mainly in the professional grades. Other than that a bit of paper that you get for attending a week long course that's regarded as appropriate has more kudos

  22. Comment by David Hoppe posted on


    I think you may have missed the point that the working class are just as likely and able to produce a brilliant Doctor than the middle class and that the numbers are a result of and proof of the discrimination experienced and not a lessening of the requirement to be brilliant to be a Doctor.

    • Replies to David Hoppe>

      Comment by SJ posted on

      To add a little anecdotal weight to this, I used to work in genetic analysis and one of the things we found when looking at both software simulations (based on real life) was that when programs/creatures with supposedly less desirable traits were combined they would at times spontaneously create highly desirable traits from combinations of previously unexpressed "genomes".

      This 'spontaneous' creation of brilliance (which of course has many anecdotal cases in history to support it), combined with a good social/educational structure and life pathways that enable rather than limit is something that means no-one can (or should) ever been dismissed because of their background, parents, socio-economic status and so on.

      To put it another way, if you tend all your plants with the care that they require (not just equally, but giving the disadvantaged the edge they need to be on a level playing field) you just don't know which seedlings are going to grow into mighty oaks, but if you only tend a select few then they are the ones that will thrive and reaffirm the old biases.

  23. Comment by Alison Smith posted on

    By the way, my very working class husband, now retired, never got beyond clerical work in the Civil Service, despite having a good masters degree, gained at a time when an M.A. by dissertation was something of an acheivement for a working class man who left school at 16 and did his 'A' levels in the evenings after working all day in a timber yard.

    That's the Civil Service for you! Aspirations and considerable ability? No thanks, not required!

    • Replies to Alison Smith>

      Comment by Anon posted on

      I agree with Alison Smith-my wife with over twenty years experience in the court service and an expert in some areas of the law, obtained her law degree and passed her solicitors finals ( believe me that is a tough exam) . She failed to get through an interiew for a trainee legal assistant job on the grounds her competences were not good enough. She remains in the clerical grades, a waste of talent, hard work and commitement

  24. Comment by Alison Smith posted on

    Funny that about degrees. When I joined my corner of the Civil Service as a graduate 25 years ago, having a degree, however appropriate to the work, was regarded with deep suspicion by the locals and proved to be of no value whatsoever in terms of career development!

    By contrast, I gave up applying for fast stream after a couple of attempts because as one manager explained to me, I was of the wrong sex, i.e. likely to want to start a family, and maybe I didn't go to a good enough school. Why should I live out my remaining working days filled with enthusiasm for public service, with ever declining pay (in real terms)? I'm only here because I no longer have any choice, having settled for security albeit at a lower standard of living than I could expect in the private sector, only to see that security chopped away by a succession of ungrateful employers. What a waste of a working life!

  25. Comment by Chris Aston posted on

    I'm not sure if there are any statistics prior to these that would show any shifts? We could be on the up % wise from previous years? I suspect further anyalsis might show certain groups (Oxbridge?) making applications to work in specific areas of the CS? I'm 100% behind this proposed recruitment strategy but to get the applicants to buy into this we need the jobs that are looking for. The digital academy is one that stands out but we will need more jobs than these to attract the required numbers to get the ratios 'right' I think

  26. Comment by Janet posted on

    A start would be to scrap the current appraisal system that does nothing but demoralise a high proportion of the workforce. I'm definitely for poor performance being tackled and if used appropriately, the current policy might work but there are too many managers more intent on meeting the curve and abusing the process, resulting in people wrongly penalised and demoralised, then managers wondering why staff engagement scores are so low.

  27. Comment by Alex posted on

    Speaking as one who considers himself to be from a working class background, I am glad to see Ministers taking this aspect of social equality seriously; however, we also need to remember this is not just a numbers game or a case of cramming people through the door. We need to be aiming not just to get more working class people into the Civil Service, but also aiming to make it that they wish to stay here, as well. To achieve that, we need to develop an internal culture which reflects that aim and is welcoming to the different perspectives and ideals that working class people may bring.

  28. Comment by Dave posted on

    I think in general that the public want the services carried out in the best way possible. It's more about receiving a high quality service that does what you expect, and less about the background of the individual who is ensuring that service functions.

    If I receive a public service, I'm happy if the the service helps me in the way it should and unhappy if it doesn't. I'm not at all concerned about whether the person giving the service is black, white, well educated, not educated, working-class, middle-class, upper class, or any other socio-demographic you care to put people in.

    It should be the best PERSON for the job in all cases that gets it, regardless of that persons background.

    If you were seriously injured and needed critical care, would you want a brilliant doctor (who just so happens to be middle class, for example) looking after you? Or would you be happier having a lesser able doctor care for you, because he is from a working class background and fits some arbitary quota.

  29. Comment by Maritn Keown posted on

    I agree that the Civil Service, especially at higher levels, should better reflect society as a whole in terms of economic background.
    I am surprised, however, to see the figure that only a third of young people are from working class backgrounds. This implies that most people in the country are middle or upper class, which would not be borne out by income statistics or types of employment. The generally accepted definition of working class is those non-professionals who rely on employment by others for their sole source of income. I would like to know which figure is being used here. A pertinent example would be a civil servant in a junior technical or management grade who is therefore working class.

    • Replies to Maritn Keown>

      Comment by Tim posted on

      In response to Maritn I would guess that by 'working class' what is meant is 'manual labour' (ie the traditional census divisions) whether skilled eg miner, plumber or unskilled (groundworker, assembly worker'. Economic changes, especially the collapse of manufacturing employment have driven down the proportion of working class families according to these terms. I suspect that class divisions matter less than they used to but they still have some importance and it is certainly true that those at the lower end are under-represented at the upper levels of teh Civil Service.

    • Replies to Maritn Keown>

      Comment by Bill Phillips posted on

      The problem is the existence of a fast stream.

      We have a recruitment process of questionable effectiveness for the fast stream and if you are accepted you are almost guaranteed rapid promotion. Whereas joining the Civil Service any other way almost guarantees slow promotion.

      What we need is an effective method of identifying talent in the workforce as a whole and promoting the best. That way an apparently well qualified candidate (who would be accepted for the fast stream) who does not work out does not get promoted. Conversely a person with relatively poor qualifications who is doing a good job will get promoted.

      This would probably benefit working class candidates, but more important it would benefit the Civil Service.

  30. Comment by Simon Bravery posted on

    As we have a recruitment freeze at the moment nobody from any type of background is joining.

  31. Comment by Simon posted on

    I hear the talk of diversity in its broadest terms here .
    As a person with experience of disabilites( or as i see it alteretive abilities and thinking out side of the box!!) .
    I have within my own experiences had both poor and excelent handleing of a crisis PTSD .
    This is in no way a reflection upon managment .
    The point i would like to raise is that of the remotness that can happen to senior managment.
    Whilst i do realise that the day o day running is not really your personal remitt
    But there again if you never get to hear a personal account honest and open with out any bias or point scoreing then the pesonaal side of How the decisions are implimented will affect the balance and make up of the Civil Service .

  32. Comment by James Stevens posted on

  33. Comment by Martin Donnelly posted on

    It is vital that we use the next five years to meet the diversity challenge Matt Hancock sets out - so that our recruitment and our promotion really mirror the society we serve, we treat all our hard-working colleagues with respect and we encourage working patterns that fit the different stages of people's lives.
    As a Permanent Secretary I want to lead a department and support a wider civil service that meets this challenge - by listening more to everyone who works in it and shares our public service values.

    • Replies to Martin Donnelly>

      Comment by Kathryn Regnard posted on

      I concur completely with Mary Franklin's feedback about the fact that the ladder to the top can be climbed by all -except those without a degree. When I joined the department in 1978 the recruitment and criteria for promotion was very different. Experience doesn't seem to matter now and too much emphasis is placed on qualifications. I accept there are exceptions however, my experience is those who do have qualifications often lack common sernse and the key skills needed for a specific job. HMRC need to re think their reruitment policy I feelbto make the process equal and fairer for all.

      • Replies to Kathryn Regnard>

        Comment by Fed up and down trodden posted on

        That's just ageism - nothing to do with having a degree!

  34. Comment by Mary Franklin posted on

    The ladder to the top can be climbed by all - except those without a degree. The departments seems focussed on recruiting externally for people with qualifications but no experience, whilst completely overlooking those who have worked here for many years and, whilst they have the skills and experience, don't have the formal qualifications.

    • Replies to Mary Franklin>

      Comment by Steve posted on

      Actually that is not altogether correct. I work on a US base for the order to be promoted to another grade we first have to resign from the job we are in and then apply for the new one...meaning there is a very real risk of losing both is the most ridiculous way of promoting people and shows no loyalty to the people that have been there a long, of course that has changed because all new jobs are Local hire and not MOD...meaning that any new job we want to try for means losing all MOD benefits and we are stuck...Even an upgrade to an existing job is the same....

  35. Comment by Tony posted on

    in your vision can you see any of us getting a pay rise in the next five years?