A major union representing civil servants has voted to extend their strike mandate for a further six months.
The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union launched a fresh ballot of 124,125 union members in 186 employers across the civil service and public sector after their previous mandate expired on 6 May.
The ballot result returned to 88% yes vote for strike action on an overall turnout of 52%.
By law, the union must achieve a turnover threshold of 50%. The PCS said this was exceeded in 106 employer areas but fell short in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The union said: “Ministers must now stop treating their own workforce like second-class citizens and put money on the table for a negotiated pay settlement.”
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It said its annual delegate conference in Brighton in two weeks would “decide on the next steps in the campaign”.
The refresh of the strikes mandate means the union could continue industrial action into November in its ongoing dispute with the government over pay and working conditions.
Whitehall was told last month that it could offer staff a 4.5% raise – with scope for an extra 0.5% “targeted at lower pay bands” if they deemed it necessary.
The unions have previously branded the government’s most recent pay offer “insulting” and vowed to take further action to achieve a better deal.
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They also criticized the fact that their members had not been offered a one-off payment – as has been the case for those working in health and education – and said it was made in the absence of substantial talks.
As well as the PCS, the government is also locked in a bitter dispute with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the Unite union, which both rejected a pay deal that was accepted by 14 other health unions.
Unison, GMB, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists and the Royal College of Midwives were among the unions who supported the 5% pay offer, plus a cash top-up.
But Unite and the RCN both rejected the offer, with Unite saying it would take “escalating” action during the short period of time they have left as part of their mandate to strike.
The RCN will hold a new ballot for strike action in England from 23 May to 23 June.