CIVIL servants in courts, Jobcentres and government buildings across Bolton have walked out on strike.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union downed tools at 1pm as part of a national campaign of industrial action in protest over cuts to pay, jobs and pensions.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ disability assessment centre at Elizabeth House in Back Spring Gardens, Bolton and Farnworth Jobcentres, the driving test centre in Weston Street, and both Bolton Crown Court and Bolton Magistrates Court were affected by the strikes.

Up to 250,000 union members were set to join the walkouts nationally before heading to public rallies, with major protests taking place in both Liverpool and Manchester.

The PCS wants a five per cent pay rise, or £1,200, for members, but claims the government is refusing to negotiate.

Michael Hepworth, a PCS representative at Elizabeth House, estimated that around 350 people in his building had taken part.

He said: “It’s to make a point to the government.

“I don’t think it will change anything.

“We’ve just had a reduction in our pensions and we haven’t had a pay rise for three years.

“In real terms our pay has gone down by 20 per cent.”

Union member Ian Foster said: “I was making more in the private sector 15 years ago than I do here.

"I wanted to work for the public sector for its job security, but that has gone.

“Jobs shouldn’t be an aspiration, they’re a right.”

A cabinet office spokesman called the action “dissapointing”.