Union boss tells Brighton conference about civil service strike ballot

A union conference in Brighton was told that civil servants are to be balloted for industrial action in a dispute over pay.

Delegates at the annual conference of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union agreed to hold a statutory industrial action ballot in September.

The ballot follows the offer of a 2 per cent pay rise in the face of the cost-of-living crisis.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka told the Brighton conference that civil servants felt “anxiety and anger” at the way they have been treated by the government.

He said: “To vote for strike action is a massive step but the actions of the government have left us with no alternative.

“Throughout the pandemic our members worked hard providing critical frontline services.

“Despite our hard work, the government attacked us. They came for our integrity, accusing us of being lazy because we worked from home.

“Unlike the Prime Minister, we weren’t being distracted by cheese. We kept the country running, providing universal credit to almost 10 million people, furlough to almost six million people, keeping our borders open, keeping the roads safe.

“Then government came for our pensions but still we carried on working, doing our bit, making people’s lives easier.

“Then the government came for our dignity, Jacob Rees-Mogg sticking Post-It notes on computers, demanding we returned to desks which subsequently, it transpired, weren’t there. But still we carried on working, getting on with our jobs.

“But then they came for our jobs. They announced plans to close 42 DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) offices, 10 insolvency offices and, just 10 days ago, told us one in five civil servants’ jobs would go.

“They didn’t listen to us when we carried on working so maybe now it’s time for us to stop working. It’s time to tell this rotten government: ‘Enough is enough.’”

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