Public and Commercial Services Union
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National strike ballot gets underway

PCS announced today that it will start a strike ballot tomorrow of 270,000 PCS members working for the civil service and its related bodies over unilateral changes to the civil service compensation scheme.

The ballot, to run between 4 and 25 February, follows the insistence of the Cabinet Office to proceed with making unilateral changes to the redundancy terms of civil and public servants. The changes will see staff robbed of up to a third of their entitlements if they are forced out of their jobs and will lead to the government cutting jobs on the cheap.

The government is looking to save £500 million through these changes, based on the number of jobs it has axed over the last three years. The union fears that the cuts to the scheme could lead to the government cutting up to 100,000 jobs on the cheap.

PCS also announced that it would be lodging papers today for a judicial review, arguing that the changes need to be implemented through agreement with the trade unions rather than imposed.

The union also pointed to the mounting political pressure over the changes with a 131 MPs and former ministers signing an early day motion urging the government to re-examine the ‘disappointing and unfair proposals’.

The ballot involves civil and public servants from across the UK including: Jobcentre staff, tax workers, coastguards, border agency officials, passport workers, court staff and driving test examiners.

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “We had hoped we could avoid a strike ballot, but the government and the Cabinet Office’s insistence on ploughing ahead, combined with their unwillingness to find an agreement has left hardworking people feeling let down and betrayed.

The government is looking to save £500 million through these changes, based on the number of jobs it has axed over the last three years. With over 96,000 jobs gone in that period, there is a fear that the government could cut another 100,000 jobs over the next three years on the cheap.

The government is looking to save £500 million through these changes, based on the number of jobs it has axed over the last three years. With over 96,000 jobs gone in that period, there is a fear that the government could cut another 100,000 jobs over the next three years on the cheap.

“Not only will this rob the people who keep this country running of their jobs and entitlements, but also the public of their dedicated civil and public servants who provide services from the cradle to the grave. The government and the Cabinet Office can still avoid a damaging dispute and legal action by negotiating an agreement that defends existing members’ entitlements.”

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