250,000 civil servants strike across UK on 'Budget Day'


250,000 civil servants are on strike across the UK on Wednesday as part of nationwide action from the sector's union, PCS.

The strike relates to pay and pensions, with PCS members, who include customs, immigration, benefits and Jobcentre staff, wanting a 5% pay rise, or £1,200.

A union spokesman said categories of workers involved in the action included staff in jobcentres and benefits and tax offices; UK Border Agency and customs staff at borders; passport agency employees; admin and training staff in prisons; driving examiners, coastguards, and staff at the DVLA; staff at some museums and galleries; and Police Community Support Officers.

The action comes as Chancellor, George Osborne,announces the budget for 2013. Spending cuts are expected, with estimates citing £2.5 billion in total. (Newspoint)

On 15 March, PCS set out the reasons why its members had voted to go on strike:

"Our programme of national industrial action will start with a strike on budget day on 20 March.

"Meeting today (15 March) our national executive agreed this will be followed by further walkouts, other forms of industrial action and protests over the next three months.

"The campaign against cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions aims to put maximum pressure on ministers who are refusing to talk to us. It includes:

  • All-day strike on 20 March to coincide with the budget, with rallies and demonstrations in key locations, including Westminster.
  • Further national and group strikes of varying durations, including half days and short walkouts, timed to have the greatest impact, with dates to be announced at a later date.
  • Industrial action short of a strike, including a national overtime ban until 20 June and disruptive action in groups.
  • Strike days interspersed with other protests and campaigning activities around specific themes.

"Consultation is now underway in groups on what forms and duration of action will be most effective.

"Our national disputes committee will meet weekly to discuss progress and tactics, and any decisions on a second phase after June will be taken after our annual conference.
We will also continue to seek the widest possible co-ordination with other unions on pay and pensions."

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka told the media: "This is not a one-day protest, this is the start of a rolling programme of walkouts and disruptive action to put pressure on a government that is refusing to talk to us."


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