Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Unions' Fury at 'Tax' on Public Sector Workers

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Unions' Fury at 'Tax' on Public Sector Workers

Article excerpt

Byline: Craig Woodhouse and Nicholas Cecil

MINISTERS sparked fresh confrontation with unions today after imposing pension contribution hikes condemned as a "tax on teachers and civil servants".

Union bosses reacted with fury after the Government confirmed it was pressing ahead with plans to make teachers and civil servants pay up to 2.4 per cent more towards their retirement from next April.

The move comes amid frenetic talks between the two sides aimed at reaching agreement on wider public sector pension reforms. The Standard understands "intensive" negotiations are taking place on a scheme-by-scheme basis, sometimes more than once a day, as ministers hope to reach a deal before the end of the year.

Sources said it was "too early to say" whether agreement would be reached or whether talks would continue into 2012. Ministers are expected to give an update on the talks on Tuesday.

After today's move the civil service PCS union said it would continue to attend the discussions, but general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Ministers only appear to be interested in imposing an unfair and entirely unnecessary tax on people working in the public sector."

National Union of Teachers boss Christine Blower also described it as "unjustified tax on teachers and other public sector workers". …

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