PCS threaten first test to Brown’s ‘discipline’

Gordon Brown was today warned his “discipline” over public sector pay could see more public sector workers walk out.

Members of the PCS union at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) voted to reject the government’s pay deal, which would result in 40 per cent of staff seeing their pay frozen next year.

On a turnout of 43 per cent, three-quarters of union members voted against the pay deal, as the PCS threatened industrial action.

Announcing the “overwhelming rejection,” PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the union would ballot its entire 280,000-strong membership on industrial action at the end of the month unless the government showed signs of U-turn.

Mr Serwotka told reporters at the TUC conference the union was holding out for “meaningful” negotiations with the government, hours after Mr Brown said he would not risk exacerbating inflation by increasing public sector pay.

Workers at the DWP were offered a two per cent pay rise this year, followed by a pay freeze, then further one per cent pay rise.

Mr Serwotka said: “The rejection of this pay offer sends a clear signal that the people who have delivered the lowest employment in a generation, pension credits and the New Deal aren’t prepared to accept below inflation pay and pay cuts in real terms.

“The government needs to wake up and recognise that hardworking civil and public servants won’t stand for being used as an anti-inflationary tool.”

A quarter of civil servants earn less than £16,000 a year and DWP front-line workers are among the lowest paid in the public sector.