100,000 civil servants to strike in one-day action in February

PCS: “We warned the government our dispute would escalate if they did not listen – and we’re as good as our word"

PCS civil service strike over pay, jobs, pensions and redundancy terms in December 2022. Photo: PCS/Andy Aitchison

By Tevye Markson

12 Jan 2023

Around 100,000 civil servants will go on strike in a one-day walkout next month over pay, pensions, cuts and redundancy terms, PCS has announced.

The civil service’s biggest union, has called a one-day strike on 1 February for all members in the 126 government departments and agencies where members voted to strike and the turnout passed the 50% threshold in the union’s ballot last year.

This will include: the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Cabinet Office.

It will not incude HM Revenue and Customs, which fell just 750 votes short of the threshold. HMRC members will be reballoted next week, along with those at the Valuation Office Agency, Companies House, Care Quality Commission, and the Welsh Government.

The Ministry of Justice, Treasury, Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office also missed the 50% threshold and so civil servants in these ministries will not be striking.

You can check here to see if your employer is included in the action.

PCS said the one-day strike will be the largest civil service strike “for years” and “signals a significant escalation” of industrial action after a month of strikes over pay, pensions, redundancy terms and job security.

PCS is campaigning is for a 10% pay rise, changes to pensions arrangements, job security and the abandonment of proposed cuts to redundancy terms. Members in the Border Force, National Highways, DWP, DVLA, DVSA and Rural Payments Agency have already gone on strike in the last few weeks after tens of thousands of members backed industrial action on November 10.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “During the last month, when thousands of PCS members across a range of departments took sustained industrial action, the government said it had no money.

“But it managed to find millions of pounds to spend on managers and military personnel in a failed attempt to cover the vital work our members do."

Departments were facing the prospect of paying out millions after the MoD said they would be billed around £4,000 a week for each soldier deployed to cover the work of striking staff.

Serwotka added: “We warned the government our dispute would escalate if they did not listen – and we’re as good as our word.

“I am meeting with the minister for the Cabinet Office, Jeremy Quin – if he puts some money on the table there is a chance this dispute can be resolved. If he doesn’t, then he’ll see public services from benefits to driving tests, from passports to driving licences, from ports to airports affected by industrial action on February 1.”

The 1 February day of action will coincide with the TUC union's "protect the right to strike" day announced yesterday in protest of proposed anti-strike legislation, and will also be coordinated with other unions taking action.

A Cabinet Office Spokesperson said: "The minister for the Cabinet Office, Jeremy Quin, met with representatives from civil service trade unions today to listen to and understand their concerns. This forms part of the government's commitment to engaging with unions across the board.

"The meeting included discussions to help ensure fair and affordable public sector pay settlements. We regret the PCS decision to call further strike action, but discussions will continue and we have comprehensive plans in place to keep essential services running and to minimise disruption."

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