Financial News

  • 5 March 2013, 9:10

Civil Servants Vote For Pay Strike

Civil servants have voted in favour of industrial action over pay, pensions and working conditions, leaving the Government facing the prospect of a strike.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union backed walkouts by 61% and other forms of industrial action by four to one. Turnout was 28%.

The union's leadership will now discuss a programme of strikes and protests, with a decision expected on Wednesday.

The ballot result raises the threat of industrial action by Government employees around the time of the Budget later this month.

The union said that since the onset of the recession in 2008, the real value of wages in the public and private sectors had fallen by 7%.

Median pay in the civil service was 4.4% lower than similar jobs in private firms, rising to 10% for some grades.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Civil and public servants are working harder than ever to provide the services we all rely on but, instead of rewarding them, the Government is cutting their pay, raiding their pensions and trying to rip up their basic working conditions.

"We said more than two years ago that austerity wouldn't work and we have been proved right.

"Under this Tory-led government, our economy has flat-lined, we are heading for a triple dip recession and the chancellor has lost his prized AAA credit rating.

"We urgently need to invest our way out of recession, with an end to the economically disastrous pay freeze and job cuts and with a serious clampdown on tax avoidance and evasion."

The union has called for a 5% pay rise for civil servants and is campaigning against plans to change terms and conditions.

PCS officials said the Government had refused to negotiate on issues affecting civil servants.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "It is disappointing that yet again the PCS insist on pushing for futile action which benefits no-one, and damages the services they deliver to the public.

"The result from today's ballot shows that the PCS leadership couldn't even convince large swathes of its own membership of the benefits of walkouts."

The Government has frozen public sector pay for two years, with those earning under 21,000 receiving pay increases of at least 250 per year. It claims the move has protected jobs.

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