UPDATE- Civil servants take strike action

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A strike by civil service workers will see courts and job centres operating with a skeleton staff today.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has called a 24-hour strike as part of a three-month programme of industrial action over pay, pensions and workloads.

Around 250,000 civil and public servants UK-wide will take part in today’s strike, timed to coincide with chancellor George Osborne delivering his budget for the coming year.

The PCS says budget cuts by the chancellor are affecting the living standards of its members and has accused the coalition government of failing to negotiate.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This is not a one-day protest, this is the start of a rolling programme of walkouts and disruptive action to put pressure on a government that is refusing to talk to us.”

A half-day strike has also been called for Friday, April 5.

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said previous strikes had been managed with minimal disruption.

He said: “Wherever possible, job centres will remain open to the public. Our contingency plans include prioritising our resources so that we can continue to make payments to our customers as normal.

“We will also maintain telephone services and where possible face to face services.”