Thousands of civil servants have voted to strike in a long-running dispute over job cuts, privatisation and pay.
The Public and Commercial Services Union said the industrial action would affect more than 200 government departments and agencies, including jobcentres, benefit offices, and the courts service.
The first stoppage will be a one-day strike on 31 January 2007 – the deadline for self-assessment tax returns – and will be followed by a two-week overtime ban.
There will be further industrial action, including overtime bans, in the run-up to the local elections in May.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “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 staff facing a pay cut in real terms.
“I call on the management of the Civil Service to get around the table with us again and discuss our concerns.”
About 280,000 members of the union were balloted on whether they supported action proposed by the union.
The Cabinet Office said there was “no need” for strike action.
Pat McFadden, Cabinet Office minister, said: “The government values the Civil Service highly. If PCS members have concerns about job losses or pay there is an established industrial relations process to discuss these issues.”
Mark Serwotka will be speaking at Personnel Today’s next HR Directors Club on 20 February. For more details visit www.hrdirectorsclub.com.