Civil servants at the UK Border Force, Home Office, and other government departments are preparing to go on strike following an overwhelming vote for industrial action.
The PCS trade union on Friday said it had built up a “substantial strike fund” and was raising more cash to cover a dispute that could stretch into next year.
Along with officials at the environment and transport departments, the staff will take industrial action in a bid to stop their wages falling in real terms.
They are asking for a 10 per cent pay rise to cover most of the 11.1 per cent inflation, as well as guarantees on job security and redundancy terms.
The expected disruption to Border Force operations comes just after Home Secretary Suella Braverman launched a crackdown on people crossing the Channel in small boats.
But union chiefs say a meeting with the Cabinet Office this week has done nothing to address their concerns.
Earlier this month workers across the government departments involved in the dispute voted yes to industrial action with 86.2 per cent in support.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said members were “angry” and that it was “inconceivable” that they could take another real terms pay cut.
“They helped to keep this country running during the pandemic, and in return, have been treated appallingly by this government,” he said.
“With inflation now at 11.1 per cent it is inconceivable that they are expected to cope with yet another real terms pay cut.”
Mr Serwotka continued: “With 10,000s of members on poverty pay it is no longer about tightening belts, but about choosing between heating and eating – and that is simply not acceptable for the government’s own workforce.
“We have made it clear to the Cabinet Office that we are available for talks throughout this period. I hope that they do the right thing and come back to the table prepared to meet our demands.
“If not, then we are prepared to do what we need to do to show them the value of our members’ work once they withdraw their labour.”
Over the weekend the Guardian newspaper reports that the army will start training soldiers to replace Border Force officers who decide to walk out over the winter.
More than 500 military personnel are expected to get five days of training starting from next Monday 21 November.