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Anger is mounting ahead of the budget on Wednesday (23 Mar) with around 80,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union involved in ballots for industrial action.

The number represents almost a third of the union’s membership in civil and public services and comes ahead of a possible national ballot over pensions and job cuts, which PCS hopes to co-ordinate with other public sector unions.

The ballots also come in the run-up to the March for the Alternative in London on Saturday (26 Mar) where hundreds of thousands of people are expected to demonstrate against the government’s ideological cuts to public spending.

The disputes include jobs, office closures, privatisation and conditions at work, and are directly related to the cuts. Members being balloted include:

  • HM Revenue and Customs - 55,000 members - ballot for strike and industrial action short of a strike over imposed new sick absence policy, opens on Friday (25 Mar).
  • Home Office - 15,000 members - ballot for industrial action short of a strike over planned job cuts and victimisation of two PCS reps, closes on Wednesday (23 Mar).
  • Department for Work and Pensions - 7,000 members - strike ballot of staff in Jobcentre Plus contact centres over intolerable working conditions, closes on Thursday (24 Mar).
  • Driving Standards Agency - 1,700 members - members have voted for strike action and industrial action short of a strike over office closures and privatisation, and are now planning the action they will take and when.
  • Equality and Human Rights Commission - 350 members - ballot for industrial action short of a strike over job and budget cuts that would reduce the commission to a thinktank and could wreck its United Nations accreditation as a national human rights institution, opens tomorrow (22 Mar).

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “As George Osborne puts the finishing touches to his budget, he should reflect on the growing anger among our members about the unnecessary damage his government’s policies are doing to our communities.

“Instead of cutting back on jobs, pay, pensions and hard-won employment rights, the chancellor still has time to accept there is an alternative that would help our economy to grow through investment in the public sector and by seriously tackling the tax dodgers who deprive our public finances of tens of billions of pounds a year.”

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