More than 120,000 civil servants working in government departments are to be balloted for strikes over pay.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) will vote in the coming weeks on whether to launch a campaign of industrial action. If successful the strikes would take place in May, just months after the UK is due to leave the EU.
If the strike goes ahead it will be the biggest walkout in the civil service since the coordinated pensions’ strike of 2011, the union said.
The PCS union is seeking a pay rise “significantly above” the rate of inflation and national pay bargaining across the civil service and related areas.
Its general secretary, Mark Serwotka, said: “Never has it been more necessary to have a well-paid and well-funded civil service than at a time of great uncertainty over Brexit and the serious problems experienced with Universal Credit.
“Yet what we have seen is a monumental betrayal of hard-working staff in core civil service departments over pay.
“Our members were led to believe that the pay cap had been lifted last year. Instead civil servants were singled out for unfair treatment and a de-facto pay cap remained in place.
“Our members have had enough and after years of real-terms wage cuts, will now be balloted with the aim of launching targeted and sustained strike action which will have a significant effect on key Government departments.
“Ministers need to understand the very real anger that our members feel and seek to immediately reward their staff with a pay rise significantly above the rate of inflation.”