Union to ballot 150,000 civil servants on plans for public sector strike
The public sector workers’ union is set to ballot more than 150,000 civil servants on plans to strike over pay and working conditions.
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said it is urging its members in 214 government departments to vote in favour of taking industrial action, after the UK government set out plans to cut 91,000 civil service jobs.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the poll will be the “most significant ballot for strike action” in the union’s 24-year history.
The ballot comes after the UK government rejected the union’s calls for a 10 per cent pay rise, a living wage of at least £15 an hour, a two per cent cut to pensions contributions, and stronger employment and redundancy protections.
The majority of government departments offered civil servants pay rises of two to three per cent this year.
Serwotka said the union’s members have “had enough of being treated with contempt.”
The PCS general secretary said the union’s members are “the people who, unobtrusively, have kept the country running during the pandemic” – “not bowler hatted mandarins”.
A recent PCS survey showed eight per cent of civil servants have used a food bank and that nine per cent of civil servants have claimed benefits because of low pay.
Civil servants working in hundreds of government departments including the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), National Audit Office (NAO), Serious Fraud Office (SFO), UK Supreme Court, UK Intellectual Property Office, and Metropolitan Police Service, will be balloted on plans to strike.
“In 41 years of working in and around the civil service, I have never seen such a shocking situation,” Serwotka said.
“This is the worst it has ever been – a crisis of monumental proportions, the biggest cut in living standards civil servants have ever known.”
“The stress of working in the civil service, under the pressure put on us with job cuts, office closures and the cost-of-living crisis is too much to bear.”
The strike ballot will run until 7th November with the result set to be announced on the 10th November at a meeting of the union’s National Executive Committee.
Serwotka said he remains “confident” the union will be able to “force the government to retreat” by upping pay and improving conditions.
The Cabinet Office has been approached for comment.