Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) have overwhelmingly voted for ongoing national industrial action across the civil service as the government continue to fail to give assurances on job security, drive down pay and pursue a dogmatic policy of outsourcing and privatisation.
61.3 % of members taking part in the ballot voted for strike action and 77.9% voted in favour of action short of a strike as key services continue to suffer as a result of the government's drive to cut 100,000 civil and public service jobs, the use of consultants spirals out of control and staff face below inflation pay offers.
The first stoppage will be a one day strike on 31 January 2007 which is the deadline for self assessment tax returns and will be followed up by a two week overtime ban. In addition to hitting HM Revenue and Customs, the industrial action will impact on over 200 government departments, agencies and non departmental public bodies including, jobcentres, benefit offices, passports, driving exams, the Ministry of Defence, courts service and national museums and galleries.
Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: "This overwhelming vote in favour of industrial action illustrates the depth of anger amongst the government's own workforce against crude job cuts and below inflation pay offers. Patience has worn thin with services suffering as a result of job cuts, billions being spent on private sector consultants and some of the lowest paid facing a pay cut in real terms.
"The people who have said they will go on strike to defend the services we all take for granted aren't high flying mandarins or faceless bureaucrats, but hard working and often low paid civil and public servants delivering everything from passports, tax and benefits to supporting our armed forces and driving tests. If the government are going to avoid ongoing industrial action, starting with disruption to the self assessment deadline then they need to give assurances over jobs, services and privatisation as well as making serious headway in tackling pay inequalities and low pay in the civil service and related bodies. I call on the management of the civil service to get around the table with us again and discuss our concerns."