Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 18:03 UK

Civil servants' strike date set

Union placard
The PCS union says its members are angry about public sector pay policy

More than 200,000 civil servants will take part in a nationwide strike on 10 November, a union has said.

The walkout will be followed by three months of industrial action in a row over pay, it announced.

It includes staff at the Home Office, Department for Work and Pensions, Coastguard Agency and tax offices.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, which represents 270,000 workers, is in dispute with ministers over a cap on public sector pay.

Future strikes could be co-ordinated with teachers and health workers who are also involved in a pay dispute, said the PCS.

'Worse off'

The union said the strike was in protest at below-inflation pay deals in various departments, which also include museums, immigration and other government agencies.

It also said civil servants were being left "significantly worse off" because they were denied increases when they reached the top of their pay grade, said general secretary Mark Serwotka.

"This treatment is being meted out even though pay rates are extraordinarily low, with one in four of our members earning less than 16,500 a year," he said.

He said there were still three weeks left to try to resolve the dispute but added that after five years the government "haven't delivered anything".

The union argues that thousands of government employees earned just above the minimum wage and had been hit hard by caps on public sector pay increases.

Mr Serwotka added: "The everyday things we take for granted, from passports and getting back into work through to tax credits, coastguards and securing our borders, are delivered by hard-working civil and public servants.

"Giving these people pay rises that take their wages to just 13p or 25p above the national minimum wage is unsustainable when you face double-digit rises in food, fuel and housing costs."

The union has held a series of pay strikes this year which have hit government services across the UK.

In April, 100,000 civil servants walked out for 24 hours during a strike which coincided with action by the NUT teachers' union.

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