Thousands of public staff voting over strike action

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Thousands of civil servants are being asked if they would strike over government cutbacks.

The Public and Commercial Services union has issued thousands of members in Portsmouth and the surrounding area with consultative ballot papers by post.

The ballot is to gauge the strength of feeling among members over proposed cuts to their redundancy terms.

It asks whether members would be prepared to take action if a better settlement can't be negotiated.

Jon Law, branch chairman at the Land Registry, branded the government move as a bid to make staff redundant 'on the cheap'.

The proposals are to cut redundancy pay for civil servants from up to 36 months'-worth, to between 12 and 21 months'-worth.

A string of other unions have accepted the terms, but PCS still views them as unfair.

Staff balloted include union members at HMS Sultan and HMS Collingwood, HM Revenue and Customs, Jobcentres and those remaining at the Portsmouth Land Registry.

The ballot began last week, and ends January 14.