Magazine article Public Finance

Unions Plan Action over Pensions

Magazine article Public Finance

Unions Plan Action over Pensions

Article excerpt

Public service trade unions this week outlined a plan of action to defeat government proposals to reform staff pensions, but Chancellor Gordon Brown has warned he will not back down.

Union leaders met Trades Union Congress pension experts on December 13 to discuss co-ordinating opposition to Treasury plans to increase the pension age to 65 across the sector, make some staff contribute more to their retirement pots and reduce benefits.

Public Finance understands that senior unionists met Brown and his Treasury team before the TUC discussion. One Whitehall source said Brown had listened, but 'was not for turning'.

That leaves the two sides on collision course in the run-up to a likely general election in May. The unions have called for a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair before deciding on their final course of action.

Union leaders are 'seeking evidence on which government proposals are based', the TUC said. That echoed concerns raised last week by FDA general secretary Jonathan Baume, representing Whitehall managers, who accused the government of perpetuating 'myths' about the impact of reforms.

Baume said the government has 'no evidence' to back claims made by Cabinet Office minister Ruth Kelly when she proposed closing the civil service final salary scheme and replacing it with an average salary alternative. …

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