Civil service professionals vote 3:1 for action


Civil service professionals vote 3:1 for action

Professional and specialist civil servants have voted by three to one to take industrial action over pensions.

An overwhelming majority of 75%-25% was recorded by Prospect from 32,000 members in more than 120 government departments, agencies and non-departmental public bodies in favour of strike action on 30 November.

After a ballot lasting three weeks, members voted for action by 12,699 votes to 4,126, according to Electoral Reform Services. Turnout was 52%.

Thirteen unions representing more than one million public sector workers have now voted to back industrial action over pensions at the end of the month. Another 13 have still to declare.

Prospect said both the vote and high turn-out reflect the deep anger among members at the Government’s actions in scrapping their existing scheme and imposing higher pension contributions, a later retirement age and the switch from RPI to CPI for uprating pensions.

Dai Hudd, Deputy General Secretary of Prospect, paid tribute to all the members who took part in the ballot. “This is a very healthy mandate to continue to strive for a just settlement. We do not ask members to support a strike lightly – indeed this is the first civil service-wide ballot we have held in more than 30 years.

“It is a cry from the heart from the Government’s own staff for ministers to listen to their justified anger. Even at this late hour we urge the Government to come forward with new, fairer proposals that would avert the need for strike action.

“It is still the aim of the executive to strive to agree a settlement to this dispute. We intend to use this outcome wisely to achieve that aim.”

Hudd pointed out that the overwhelming vote from Prospect members to endorse the recommendation for industrial action exceeded the election mandate of either party in the coalition Government.

The next steps are for the union’s Civil Service Sector Executive and then the National Executive Committee to endorse the action planned for 30 November.

More than 93% of Prospect members covered by the ballot are in the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme. Another 2,300 are covered by the Local Government and NHS Pension Schemes, and the Combined Pension Scheme, a nuclear industry scheme.