Hundreds of thousands of civil service workers are to vote on a strike in defence of their redundancy terms.
They are fighting against the government’s plans to drastically cut the terms of the Civil Service Compensation Scheme – the fund that pays out when workers are made redundant.
The government is preparing for major job losses across the civil service as a way of helping it pay for the huge budget deficit caused by the bank bailouts.
The ballot of 270,000 members of the PCS union is a key part of the struggle to stop ordinary people being made to pay for the recession.
The PCS leadership last week agreed to begin a strike ballot in defence of the scheme. The ballot begins on 4 February and ends on 25 February.
PCS members showed their willingness to defend their rights last year when over 35,000 of them attended meetings across the country. More than 80 percent of them said that industrial action should be considered if the government did not back down over the issue.
Kate Douglas, secretary of the PCS DWP branch for Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, said, “This new scheme will affect part-time staff more than full-time staff because of the way it is calculated.
“It will mean that people like me, who work part-time because of childcare responsibilities, and others who are carers or have health issues, will be severely affected.
“The government will find it easier to hive services off to the private sector. PCS members have to vote yes to strikes to stop these attacks.
“The union is planning a combination of national and regional action to pressurise the government.
“That’s fine as long as we keep up the momentum with national action, which is when we are at our most powerful, in the run-up to the general election.”