THE union representing Scotland's civil servants will decide in the new year whether to campaign for or against independence - or even stay neutral.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union will use a conference in Glasgow in February to decide its stance.

Their views must be backed by the union's UK-wide conference in May but national vice-president John McInally said it was "inconceivable" that a decision by Scottish members would be vetoed.

He was speaking at the launch of the union's refer-endum strategy, based on protecting public services.

The union has nearly 30,000 members in Scotland, mainly workers in UK and Scottish government departments.

A survey of almost 2000 members found that the future of public services and their own pensions were the biggest factors in how they would vote.

Members said they would like more information from political parties on their plans for Scotland.

About 120 respondents volunteered comments on whether the union should support or oppose indepen-dence, or remain neutral, in the run-up to the vote in September next year.

They were split "even stevens," PCS Scottish Secretary Lynn Henderson said.

She added: "We are proud that, through this research report and our Scottish conference, we are thor-oughly engaging members and activists in the debate on Scotland's future.

"To date, no other union has undertaken such widespread engagement with their membership on this important issue for the people of Scotland."

The union repeated a list of "industrial demands" including the public ownership of utilities and North Sea oil and gas; an end to the Government's austerity programme; increased council house building; a fairer tax system, and the repeal of anti-trade union laws.