Public sector workers threaten pensions protests

2005

Trade union members across the UK are planning a nationwide day of campaigning in February to protest against changes the government is planning to make to the pensions of public sector workers.

Although the changes to the various pensions schemes vary from sector to sector, the unions say that they are united in their desire to preserve the generous final-salary pensions for workers across the public services.

They are particular concerned about the government’s determination to increase the retirement age for public-sector workers from 60 to 65 and base pensions on an employee's career average salary.

Yesterday Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison, the largest public-sector union, wrote to all Labour MPs warning them that widespread anger and resentment at the government's plans could damage the party in the run-up to the General Election.

“The one thing public-sector workers used to be able to rely on was their pension, but the government has turned that promise into quicksand,” Prentis said.

Unison has not ruled out strike action to defend what they see as attacks on their pensions and has pledged to fight any changes to NHS pensions.

TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said unions and their members were "very angry" at the proposals.

“Unions and their members are very angry at the changes the government is proposing. There is enormous concern at the impact these proposals will have upon the lives of millions of public-sector workers. We are determined to keep up the pressure on the government.,” he said.