CIVIL Servants have voted by a massive 61% majority in favour of strike action in their fight for a pay rise of £1,200, or 5%, this year.
The ballot result could lead to a strike on Budget Day, March 20th, the Public and Commercial Service (PCS) Union said ahead of the result.
Almost 250,000 civil servants were balloted in a row which encompassed job cuts, pay and pensions.
In the national ballot of the union’s members in government departments and agencies, 61% of those who took part voted for strike action and eight in 10 voted for other forms of industrial action.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘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.
‘We said more than two years ago that austerity wouldn’t work and we have been proved right.
‘Under this Tory-led government, our economy has flatlined, we are heading for a triple dip recession and the chancellor has lost his prized AAA credit rating.
‘We urgently need to invest our way out of recession, with an end to the economically disastrous pay freeze and job cuts and with a serious clampdown on tax avoidance and evasion.’
Following yesterday’s ballot result, a programme of strike action is to be discussed by the union’s national executive committee, with a decision expected to be announced tomorrow.
The union has asked for talks on the key issues affecting the lives of civil servants and the services they are able to provide to the public, but to date the government has refused to negotiate.
A recent report published by the union, using official statistics, showed that since the onset of recession in 2008 the real value of wages in the public and private sectors has fallen by 7%, or more than £50 billion a year.
During the same period there has been a real terms drop in consumer demand of 5%.
The report also showed that median pay in the civil service is 4.4%, or £1,263, lower than direct private sector comparators and, in some grades, the gap was 10%.
The union has called for a minimum pay rise of 5% or £1,200 for all civil servants this year, for the living wage to underpin all government contracts, for no cuts to terms and conditions, and no increase in pension contributions, no increase in the pension age and no reduction in pension benefits