Bloomberg News

U.K. Public Workers’ Union May Strike After Vote

March 04, 2013

Public-sector workers in Britain’s largest civil-service union voted to strike to protest cuts in pay and working conditions imposed by Prime Minister David Cameron’s government.

The Public and Commercial Services union, representing about 270,000 civil servants, said a ballot of its members showed 61 percent backing for strikes, while eight in every 10 favored some form of “industrial action.” The turnout was 28 percent of those entitled to vote. The union’s executive will meet in “the coming days” to plan how to act.

“Civil and public servants are working harder than ever to provide the services we all rely on but, instead of rewarding them, the government is cutting their pay, raiding their pensions and trying to rip up their basic working conditions,” PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said in an a statement on the union’s website.

The union is seeking a 5 percent wage increase for its members this year to begin making up for what it says is a 7 percent fall in earnings since 2008. The government has targeted public-sector pay as it imposes the biggest budget squeeze since World War II to narrow its deficit.

The PCS is wrong to “insist on futile action” and the union’s leadership is unable to convince “large swathes” of its members to back its strike plans, the Cabinet Office said in an e-mailed statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gonzalo Vina in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at

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