The civil servants' union PCS is stepping up its pay campaign by holding a consultative ballot, timed to coincide with the autumn budget.
PCS assistant general secretary Chris Baugh says: "The PCS pay ballot is an unequivocal message to the government that not only do our members deserve a pay rise but they've had enough of subsidising public service cuts. The average pay of a civil servant has fallen by 20% since 2010.
"We are stepping up our action to end the pay cut as part of a fully funded pay settlement - not taken from other areas of public sector funding - and as a major civil service trade union for the restoration of national pay bargaining on behalf of all our members.
"This resolve runs throughout the public sector and any attempts to play one off against the other will only serve to strengthen this and the potential of coordinated action in the new year."
The decision to ballot follows the union's correspondence to the prime minister after the general election demanding an immediate end to the 1% cap.
Damian Green, minister for the cabinet office, in a complacent and dismissive response to the union, claimed that "the civil service offers an exceptional package of benefits which are among the best available". Despite 120,000 jobs cut, there is a "trade-off" between pay and jobs, he added.
PCS wants to send a strong, clear and united message to the government, to scrap the pay cap and fund inflation-proofing pay increases. PCS is demanding a rise of 5% or £1,200, whichever is greater.
The ballot consists of two questions:
PCS is urging members to vote Yes to both. The ballot ends on 6 November.
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