PCS strike ballot: which departments voted for industrial action?

Union members at 124 civil service employers backed strikes, but 86 missed the turnout threshold. See the full breakdown here – including the eight that fell one vote short
Defra had a 74% turnout, but only a third of PCS members in the Foreign Office voted. Photo: Adobe Stock

By Tevye Markson

10 Nov 2022

Around 100,000 civil servants have voted to strike in the PCS union's national ballot. The departments and agencies with the highest and lowest voting turnouts have now been revealed – with some falling short of the minimum threshold needed to take industrial action.

Around 86% of those balloted by the union voted in favour of strike action over pay, pensions, cuts and redundancy terms, with 124 departments and public bodies both meeting the participation criteria and voting for strikes.

But at 86 employers, fewer than 50% of eligible members – the minimum required for strike action to take place – turned in their ballots. Eight missed the turnout threshold by just one vote.

Among government's major ministries, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs had one of the highest turnouts, with 74% of eligible voters taking part; and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, with 68%. In both cases, more than 90% of voters backed industrial action.

The Cabinet Office, Government Legal Department and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency also crossed the line with more than 90% "yes" votes.

But HM Revenue and Customs fell just 750 votes short, with a 47% turnout. PCS has said it will reballot HMRC members next year.

The Ministry of Justice, the Treasury and the Ministry of Defence also missed the 50% mark, and at the Foreign Office, only a third of members took up their chance to vote. In each case, the majority of voters favoured strike action.

Eight organisations fell one vote short of meeting the 50% threshold: the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; the Submarine Delivery Agency; The Pensions Regulator; Qualifications Wales; Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner; Office of Rail and Road, Estyn; and Highlands and Islands Airports.

Queen Elizabeth II Centre and Audit Scotland were the only employers where members met the threshold but turned down industrial action, with 33% backing strikes at the former and 31% at the latter.

The RFCA Wales branch also declined to strike, but did not meet the participation threshold.

Speaking to members via Facebook Live this afternoon, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the ballot had been disrupted by separate industrial action, such as the postal workers' strike. 

Here are the 124 departments where members managed to reach the threshold

  • CAS
  • British Museum
  • Cabinet Office
  • Charity Commission
  • Maritime & Coastguard Agency
  • Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
  • Natural Resources Wales
  • Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service
  • Independent Office for Police Conduct
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency 
  • Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy 
  • Department of Health and Social Care
  • Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
  • Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency 
  • Audit Wales
  • Department for Education
  • Natural England
  • Competition Service
  • Gambling Commission
  • Historic England
  • Health & Safety Executive 
  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • Home Office
  • Insolvency Service
  • HM Land Registry
  • Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
  • Creative Scotland
  • National Galleries of Scotland
  • National Museums of Scotland
  • National Audit Office
  • National Lottery Heritage Fund
  • Department for Transport
  • National Library of Wales
  • National Museums Liverpool
  • Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority
  • Information Commissioner’s Office 
  • Ofgem
  • Competition & Markets Authority
  • Office for National Statistics & UK Statistics Authority
  • Ofsted
  • UK Intellectual Property Office
  • Vehicle Certification Agency
  • Planning Inspectorate
  • National Archives
  • Registers of Scotland
  • Transport Focus
  • Sports Grounds Safety Authority
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • Equality & Human Rights Commission
  • Scottish Enterprise
  • NatureScot
  • Scottish Government
  • Serious Fraud Office
  • Skills Development Scotland
  • The Council of the RFCAs
  • Sport England
  • Scotland’s Commission for Children & Young People
  • RFCA West Midlands
  • Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service
  • Legal Aid Agency
  • UK Research & Innovation
  • Visit Scotland
  • Government Legal Department
  • Parole Board for England & Wales
  • Animal & Plant Health Agency
  • Wallace Collection
  • Senedd Cymru
  • Scottish Human Rights Commission
  • Scottish Prison Service
  • Scottish Parliament
  • Student Loans Company
  • Architecture & Design Scotland
  • Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
  • National Highways
  • Westminster Foundation for Democracy
  • Independent Living Fund Scotland
  • Rural Payments Agency
  • Defence, Science & Technology Laboratory
  • Electoral Commission
  • Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
  • Security Industry Authority
  • UK Space Agency
  • Marine Management Organisation
  • Youth Justice Board 
  • Local Government Boundary Commission for England
  • Northern Ireland Office
  • Prisons & Probation Ombudsman
  • Wales Office
  • Courts and Tribunals Judiciary
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
  • Children’s Commissioner for England
  • Food Standards Scotland
  • Crown Estate Scotland
  • Risk Management Authority
  • Local Democracy & Boundary Commission for Wales
  • UK Debt Management Office
  • Student Awards Agency for Scotland 
  • Social Security Scotland 
  • Scottish Housing Regulator
  • Revenue Scotland
  • Department of International Trade
  • Bord na Gaidhlig
  • Forestry Commission England
  • Scottish Forestry
  • Leasehold Advisory Service
  • Forestry and Land Scotland
  • UKSV (Cabinet Office)
  • Disclosure and Barring Service
  • Veterinary Medicines Directorate
  • Institute for Apprenticeships
  • Office for Students 
  • Transport Scotland
  • Accountant in Bankruptcy
  • Disclosure Scotland
  • Education Scotland
  • Office for the Scottish Charity Regulator 
  • Scottish Public Pensions Agency 
  • National Records of Scotland
  • South of Scotland Enterprise
  • Trade Remedies Authority
  • UK Health Security Agency 
  • Office for Health Improvement & Disparities


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