Press TV
March 8, 2010

Up to 270,000 civil servants are to strike for 48 hours across the UK, in what will be the biggest industrial action by the sector in two decades.

The parliament, courts, job centers, tax offices, museums and emergency police call centers are among some of the services that will be affected by the move.

The massive walkout, called by the British Public and Commercial Services Union, is over changes to the civil service redundancy scheme.

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The union says that according to the plan civil servants will lose up to one-third of their entitlements, worth tens of thousands of pounds.

“The government is tearing up the contracts of low-paid civil and public servants whilst it claims it can do nothing about bankers’ bonuses because of contractual obligations,” General Secretary Mark Serwotka told the BBC.

He added that the strike will show the importance of civil servants to the society – those who “touch our everyday lives from the cradle to the grave”.

Cabinet Office Minister Tessa Jowell, meanwhile, said the decision to strike was “very disappointing”.

Backing the government’s redundancy scheme, she stressed that “this package brings the civil service more into line with the rest of the public sector and still offers more generous terms than much of the private sector.”

The walkout – planned ahead of the general election – is expected to be the biggest industrial unrest in the civil service since 1987.

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