Employment Law: Public sector strikes go ahead with no chance of pension deal

Employment Law: Public sector strikes go ahead with no chance of pension deal

In what is thought to be the “biggest action since the 1926 general strike”, millions of public sector workers plan to strike tomorrow, Wednesday 30 November, after an agreement about pensions could not be reached with the Government.

The industrial action, occurring nationwide, are to be co-ordinated by the Trade Union Congress and will involve around 50 branches of 30 unions, seven of which are not affiliated with the TUC. The unions will represent 2.6 million workers from different public sector industries including hospital workers and teachers.

The recently proposed changes to pensions such as extending the state pension age, forcing workers to pay more from their salaries into their pensions, making them work longer hours and forcing them to accept pensions based on “career average salaries” rather than final salaries, are the reasons behind the strike action.

TUC leader Brendan Barber said: “This will be the biggest strike for a generation. The sense of frustration and the sense of real injustice and anger is enormously strong across a number of unions who have never taken action before.”

A deal with the Government could not be reached since, “on some of the key issues involved in this difficult issue they [the Government] have been simply unwilling to reconsider their position at all, that has made it extremely difficult.”

Ministers had proposed a new offer in October which would ensure that people within ten years of retirement would not have to work longer or have a reduced pension. It also promised a more generous accrual rate.

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said it was a “very good offer”, especially as there was “no more money on the table” to resolve the pensions dispute.

He has also confirmed that the new offer may be retracted since an agreement could not be reached.

He said: “I reserve the right to take those enhancements off the table if an agreement can’t be reached. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be in that position. I want to be in a position where we have got an agreement.”

As a result of the strike, it is expected that two thirds of schools will close. Prime Minister David Cameron has urged employers to allow children to accompany their parents to work.

Disruptions will occur to job centres, driving tests, council services, government offices, courts and border controls.

Hospitals will not be closed but may suffer delays since some staff members will be on strike.

There will be marches, pickets and rallies around the country on 30 November.

Related links:

Read more on the story (Yahoo! News)

Taking part in industrial action (FindLaw)

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