The government is facing a summer of public sector strikes after unions warned that proposed pension changes could “light the blue touch paper” for strikes.
England’s schools could face mass disruption as teachers are expected to walk out first, while NHS staff, civil servants, council workers and other workers in the sector could take coordinated action.
The government will have a crunch meeting with union leaders next week in an attempt to avoid widespread industrial unrest. Workers have so far warned that strikes are inevitable if ministers support recommendations put forward by Labour peer Lord Hutton.
He has recommended that public sector staff should have their pensions linked to average earnings instead of final salary pensions.
Under the changes staff would also have to wait until they are old enough to have a state pension before they can withdraw their retirement savings.
Meanwhile, Lord Hutton has also said members of the forces, police and firefighters should not be allowed to retire before 60.
The report was savaged by unions, saying it was a “recipe for disaster”, although they accused the government of planning a “Trojan horse raid” on the pensions of hard working public sector workers.
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: “There’s no doubt that these proposed changes are another hammer blow to the morale of dedicated nurses.”
Copyright © Press Association 2011
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“As a trained nurse of 35 years I am appalled, i was aiming to retire at 60, but will now be forced to work until 65 so much for the fat cats in management their wages could surely compensate” – Ellen Turner, Taunton