2,200 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union working for the Valuation Office Agency began a ballot for strike action over below inflation pay on 30 January.
The ballot for industrial action short of a strike and a one day strike follows a below inflation pay offer with cost of living increases of no more than 1. 9%. The offer sees the most experienced staff receive 1. 25% and those at the start of their pay band receive 1. 9%.
Salaries in the VOA start at £12, 200 and the below inflation pay offer would represent a pay cut in real terms at a time when annual food inflation is at 7. 4% and costs for fuel and council tax are rising faster than wages. The Retail Price Index for inflation is currently 4%.
The VOA is an executive agency of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs which supports the work valuing properties for council tax banding purposes. The VOA do not determine council tax band ranges.
The ballot closes on the 18 February with the result being announced shortly after.
Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “People with bills to pay and mouths to feed are becoming increasingly frustrated with moves to cut their pay in real terms. Driving down pay does nothing for staff morale when hard working civil and public servants know they are not the cause of inflation. The government need to step back from its policy of cutting pay in real terms and start paying its workforce a fair and decent wage.”