Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) have voted to strike over government plans to compulsorily increase the public sector pension age from 60 to 65.
Two-thirds (67%) of those voting in the ballot endorsed action, which will see members of PCS working in government departments and agencies joining local government members of Unison, Transport and General Workers Union, Amicus and UCATT in a one-day strike on 23 March, involving almost 1.5 million people.
The government insists the rise in age is necessary to deal with an ageing workforce that is not working long enough to save sufficient money for retirement.
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said tens of thousands of hardworking civil and public servants would not “sit idly by and let their pension rights be eroded”.
He said: “The inexplicable irony is that the government is prepared to negotiate with us on changes to the final salary pension scheme but, to date, says it is not prepared to negotiate on the compulsory increase in the pension age.”
Other unions, including Unison, the GMB and Amicus, today said talks with deputy prime minister John Prescott had made progress and further talks would go ahead next week.
Unison, general secretary Dave Prentis, said: “Unison wants real negotiations for the first time on a sustainable, good quality pension scheme which benefits all local government workers and which councils and staff can afford.”