Almost 250,000 U.K. public servants will be called out on strike on March 20, the day Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announces his budget, the Public and Commercial Services Union said.
The strike will start a three-month program of protest action over government cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions, the union said today in a e-mailed statement.
“This is the start of a rolling program of walkouts and disruptive action to put pressure on a government that is refusing to talk to us,” PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said. “There is an alternative to cutting the living standards of hard-working public servants, and our campaign is designed to make the case loud and clear.”
The government froze most public-sector workers’ pay for the first two years of its austerity program to narrow the budget deficit after coming to power in 2010. Increases will now be capped at 1 percent a year as Osborne continues the biggest fiscal squeeze since World War II. Public-sector workers are also having to pay higher pension contributions.
The national executive committee of the PCS union, which represents workers in services including immigration, tax offices, benefits and defense, agreed on the strategy at a meeting in London today.
“It is disappointing that yet again the PCS insist on pushing for futile action which benefits no one and damages the services they deliver to the public,” the Cabinet Office said in an e-mailed statement. “Reforms will ensure that public- sector pensions will remain among the very best available and that they can be sustained for future generations.”
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