Union bosses have accused ministers of stonewalling requests for meaningful pay talks, as more sectors threaten to strike during the Christmas period.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady and Unison General Secretary Christina McAnea have claimed ministers are refusing to negotiate in good faith.
In a joint letter to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, they insisted that no public sector workers want to take strike action this winter.
Their letter adds: “They are committed public servants who take great pride in their jobs and the communities they serve. But the government has left them with no choice.
“Good industrial relations require both parties to be willing to negotiate in good faith and to have open conversations.”
On Wednesday, Border Force workers announced strikes would take place between 23 and 26 December as well as 28 and 31 December – jeopardising Christmas travel.
The walkouts will affect Birmingham, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow and Manchester airports, as well as the Port of Newhaven.
Winter strikes have already been announced by train, bus and road workers – with postal workers, teachers, nurses, and ambulance workers also taking action over pay and conditions.
Read more: Families face stark choices after a year of the cost of living crisis
‘Ignoring the main issue isn’t a negotiation’
The letter to Mr Hunt said: “When your cabinet colleagues have met unions, they have repeatedly refused to talk about public sector pay.
“Ignoring the main issue on the table isn’t a negotiation.”
It said the government could not continue to “hide behind” pay review bodies, adding: “If ministers genuinely want to resolve these disputes, they must address what’s…