Warning civil service strikes could last rest of year after union renews mandate

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) on the picket line outside HMRC in East Kilbride. Credit: PA

Members of the biggest civil service union have voted to renew their mandate to keep taking industrial action for the next six months in a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) said the vote was 88% in favour, paving the way for strikes to continue for most of the rest of the year.

The union has been embroiled in a bitter row with the government for months and has held a series of strikes across Whitehall departments and other workplaces, including the Border Force, Passport Office and HMRC.

The union said the ballot result, on a 52% turnout, means it can continue to call a mixture of “sustained action in targeted areas”.

Among those who voted in favour are members working in the Home Office, Passport Office and DVLA, and those working as driving examiners.

It comes just after nurses announced they would vote on whether or not they are in favour of taking more strike action after rejecting the revised pay offer from the government.

A dog joins members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) on the picket line outside HMRC. Credit: PA

They are now able to join those who already have a mandate for action, including those at HMRC, who were on strike on Wednesday.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This vote shows our members will not tolerate being treated worse than anyone else in the public sector.

“It sends a very strong signal to the government that they must get round the negotiating table immediately."

He added: “After six months of strike action, the government might have hoped our members would go quietly back to work, but ministers have under-estimated our members’ strength, determination and resolve.

“PCS members kept this country running during the pandemic and they deserve to be treated better by their employer.

“Unless ministers put more money on the table, they will see more high-profile disruptive action over the summer, leading into autumn.”

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