It is not yet known how many staff will walk out as part of the strike by the Public and Commercial Services Union in 124 government departments and agencies, which also includes the Office for Students and Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.
At the DfE, 911 staff, or 88 per cent of the 1,031 employees who cast a vote in the ballot were in favour of industrial action. The 1,816 PCS members at the department equate to 24 per cent of its total workforce.
Of the 161 Ofsted employees who voted, 88 per cent were in favour. In total, 291 staff members – 16 per cent of the inspectorate’s workforce – were entitled to vote.
It comes as results of ballots of school staff by the National Education Union, NASUWT teaching union and NAHT school leaders’ union are awaited.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said he had “warned the government our dispute would escalate if they did not listen – and we’re as good as our word”.
He said he was meeting ministers tomorrow, and if they put some more money on the table “there is a chance this dispute can be resolved”.
If not, the government will see “public services from benefits to driving tests, from passports to driving licences, from ports to airports affected by industrial action on February 1”.
It comes after FE Week’s sister paper Schools Week revealed that more than 500 Department for Education staff have applied for pay-outs to quit under a “selective voluntary exit scheme” for staff “who don’t have the skills the department needs for the future”.