Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Sunday, 7 September 2008 13:50 UK

Civil servants to vote on strike

Union placard
The PCS union is to ballot about 270,000 civil servants on strike action

Civil servants are to be balloted on whether to take industrial action for at least three months, the Public and Commercial Services Union has said.

About 270,000 of the union's members - from across the UK and in every part of government - will vote this month on a rolling programme of industrial action.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka blamed government policy of limiting public sector pay rises to 2%.

In April, 100,000 civil servants walked out over below-inflation pay caps.

Mr Serwotka said this policy unfairly hit hardest some of the lowest paid workers in the country.

Our members have grown increasingly frustrated by the government peddling the myth that they are the causes of inflation
Mark Serwotka
PCS general secretary

"The government says it is on the side of hard-pressed families, yet compound the financial misery for hundreds of thousands of hard-working people by pursuing an unjust pay policy," he said.

"The government is out of touch with the people who keep this country running and who deliver the everyday things we take for granted.

"Our members have grown increasingly frustrated by the government peddling the myth that they are the causes of inflation when they see their food, fuel and housing costs soar.

"Faced with pay cuts, pay freezes and increasing financial hardship, civil and public servants will not tolerate the government's approach to pay which is disproportionately hitting some of the lowest paid in the economy."

Voting will begin later this month and any strikes, which could last into the New Year, may be co-ordinated with action taken by other unions, the PCS has warned.

A series of strikes have already been held this year by coastguards, immigration officers, driving test examiners, passport and jobcentre staff.

But if this latest move is approved, it would be the biggest series of strikes by civil servants for years.


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