Magazine article Public Finance

Virtual Reality

Magazine article Public Finance

Virtual Reality

Article excerpt

It's the biggest one-day strike that never was - 1.5 million publie sector workers were due to take to the streets this week in 'the largest national strike since 1926', according to public services union Unison.

Even the well-mannered FDA was going to bring out its pin-striped members, if only for half a day.

The issue uniting Whitehall mandarins with hospital porters and council cleaners is pensions. Government plans to raise the public sector pensionable age to 65, increase contributions and end final salary pensions for civil servants and the NHS, has galvanised the unions into action. Their members voted overwhelmingly for this Wednesday's one-day strike.

In the event, it never happened. A personal intervention by the prime minister- followed by a flood of correspondence between the Cabinet Office, key departments and the Trades Union Congress - appears to have headed off a hugely embarrassing pre-election dispute.

What changed the union bosses minds? A government, commitment to revoke, for the time being, the new pension arrangements has certainly helped oil the wheels. As has the carrot offered in the form of progress on the two-tier workforce agreement.

Nor did the hint that top civil servants might have their pensions doubled or tripled to match those in the private sector do too much harm. …

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