Magazine article Public Finance

Unions Prepare for Pensions Panel Talks

Magazine article Public Finance

Unions Prepare for Pensions Panel Talks

Article excerpt

Public sector trades unions held pre-emptive talks this week over the thorny issue of pensions amid growing fears that they could fail to agree reform principles with ministers in advance of more detailed negotiations.

Leading negotiators from the biggest unions met at the Trades Union Congress's headquarters in London on August 31 to prepare for a crucial meeting with the pensions panel of the government-led Public Services Forum on September 21.

The meeting, to be chaired by Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson, represents the final opportunity for ministers and unions to agree a set of principles that will underpin later negotiations over reforms to specific civil service, education, fire service, local government, NHS and police pension schemes.

Previous attempts to agree on methods of easing fast-escalating pension costs have failed.

Ministers want to raise the retirement age across the public sector to 65, in line with the private sphere, but that has been attacked by unions as an unacceptable 'work till you drop' package. …

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