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Posted on 5 March 2013 at 13:30 GMT

Following PCS ballot, strikes being discussed

From a PCS (Public and Commercial Services union) press release:

Civil servants to discuss strikes after government refuses to negotiate

The government could face a series of walkouts by almost a quarter of a million civil and public servants in a dispute over cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions.

A programme of walkouts and protests will be discussed by the union's national executive committee in the coming days, with a decision expected on Wednesday 6th March.

The union has asked for talks on the key issues affecting the lives of civil servants and the services they are able to provide to the public, but to date the government has refused to negotiate.

A recent report published by the union, using official statistics, showed that since the onset of recession in 2008 the real value of wages in the public and private sectors has fallen by 7%, or more than 50 billion a year. During the same period there has been a real terms drop in consumer demand of 5%.

The report also showed that median pay in the civil service is 4.4%, or 1,263, lower than direct private sector comparators and, in some grades, the gap was 10%.

The union has called for a minimum pay rise of 5% or 1,200 for all civil servants this year, for the living wage to underpin all government contracts, for no cuts to terms and conditions, and no increase in pension contributions, no increase in the pension age and no reduction in pension benefits.

In a national ballot of the union's members in government departments and agencies, 61% of those who took part voted for strikes and eight in 10 voted for other forms of industrial action. The turnout was 28%.

This new national ballot replaces the one the union held in June 2011 which led to strikes over pensions in that year and 2012.

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