Up to 750,000 public sector workers will go on strike at the end of this month after the Public and Commercial Services union agreed to join teachers in a protest against Government plans to reform public sector pensions.
The move came yesterday despite calls from Cabinet Secretary Francis Maude for those considering strike action to avoid doing so as discussions about the reforms are still taking place.
However, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka (pictured) claims ministers have fixed the terms of the discussions to make it impossible for a deal to be reached.
He says: “The Government admits money cut from pensions will go straight to the Treasury to help pay off the deficit in what is nothing more than a tax on working in the public sector. Unless ministers abandon their ideological plans to hollow out the public sector they will face industrial action on a mass scale on June 30 and beyond.”
In March’s Budget, Chancellor George Osborne said the Government accepted the findings of the Hutton Commission which suggested increasing contributions, increasing the public sector retirement age to 65 and switching all public sector workers from final salary to career average schemes.
The turnout for the PCS ballot was 32 per cent of which 61 per cent voted for strike action and 83 per cent for other forms of industrial action, which could include working to rule.
Earlier this month Business Secretary Vince Cable warned the Government may toughen strike laws if unions take industrial action that causes serious economic damage and London Mayor Boris Johnson has called for a 50 per cent minimum turn-out for a strike ballot to be valid.
Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Maude did not rule out making changes to industrial relation law.