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Budget day strike for civil servants over pay progression

Thousands of civil servants are set to strike on Budget day this Wednesday over pay arrangements and against tax avoidance and evasion.

The PCS union has announced the date as the second in their three-month programme of action. Almost 250,000 members working in government departments will also hold a half-day walkout on April 5, followed by a week of campaigning.

The union is asking for talks over cuts to pay, pensions and terms and conditions.

The Treasury is considering removing a pay arrangement that allows staff to progress from minimum starting levels up a series of pay bands within their grade – the PCS suggests this would end a system designed to help recruit and retain staff.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “We will quickly follow up our Budget day strike with a walkout on April 5, and step up our campaigning for the Government to take serious action against wealthy tax dodgers.

“With polls showing people are less likely to support government policies if George Osborne's name is attached, it is clear the public have lost faith in austerity and want an alternative.”

But a Cabinet Office spokesman told reporters: “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 Government took the tough decision to freeze public sector pay for two years, while protecting those earning under £21,000 by increasing their pay by at least £250 per year. Pay restraint has helped to protect jobs in the public sector and support high-quality public services. In March 2012 we set out our final proposed agreements on pension reform following more than a year of intensive discussions with trades unions. These reforms will ensure that public sector pensions will remain among the very best available and that they can be sustained for future generations.

“Because we want to attract the best staff, we will remain an employer with good terms and conditions, as we have always been. However, while there has been significant recent change in pay and pensions, there are other terms and conditions that have not been updated. We will address this and ensure a modern employment offer is available to all.”

PCS officials will meet every week during the industrial action campaign to track its progress and to decide tactics. Decisions on a second phase will be taken after the union's annual conference in mid-May.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]

Image c. Ian Nicholson/PA


Leslie Christie   18/03/2013 at 13:39

Best of luck to PCS. Do vital jobs which are not appreciated. MPs Committee criticise Revenue Dept for not responding to letters and phone calls while the Government slashes thousands of jobs in that Department. Great bulk o f civil servants are low paid with pensions under £5,000 per year.

Gloria Tanner - Swansea Councillor/Pcs   18/03/2013 at 14:49

I am a retired Civil Servant with a pension of just over £5,000. Hardly gold plated as the Govt would like you to believe. Most Civil Servants are low paid and many are receiving the very benefits that they process to the public. Congratulations to PCS for showing the way. Come on you other Public Sector unions join us in this fight. It is for the future of our Public Services. .

Garin Linnington   18/03/2013 at 22:50

The civil service pay structure is bust, even non-compliant with equal pay and age discrimination legislation under the Equality Act 2010. In my industry, forestry, the FC pay is well below the private sector for experienced managers, upto 20%. But if you get promoted you go to the top of the pay scale with no management experience, meanwhile someone recruited from the private sector is paid less and can't move up the pay scale. The FC finds it difficult to recruit experienced and qualified managers now, purely because the pay is too low. When I left my FC job in Scotland, they couldn't get anyone from the private sector to take the job, so how can the condems say the conditions are the best? Recruitment and retention will suffer, but it already is.

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