March 28th is set to be the date for further action as unions say they will not be bullied by government

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The FBU, PCS and Unite are ratcheting up the pressure on the government by balloting for further industrial action over public sector pensions.

All three unions are to consult their members over the NHS pensions’s reform proposals – a move that could include further co-ordinated strikes and industrial action with other unions in education and the civil service.

Unite said the prospect of strike action over the NHS pensions’ issue is a real possibility, possibly on March 28th.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “There have been no substantive changes from what was on the table before Christmas – our hard working members will still be expected to pay more, work longer and get less when they retire.

“Our members are deeply unhappy at the government’s stance and we will be holding a consultative ballot to reaffirm our members’ position – the prospect of  further strike action will be very real, unless ministers move on their hardline position.

“Unite calls, yet again, for ministers to enter into real, genuine and meaningful negotiations on the future of NHS pensions before the deadline of 20 February for talks to end.

“The government’s attacks on public sector pensions are politically driven, as part of the strategy to privatise the NHS, cut public services, break-up the national pay agreements, and disrupt legitimate trade union activities and organisation.

“Unite believes it is important to continue a strong campaign to maintain a fair and equitable system of public sector pensions.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “We refuse to accept that civil servants, nurses, teachers and council workers should be bullied into paying more and working longer for less, just to pay off debts racked up by greedy bankers who are still pocketing their bonuses.

“We will now consult members on a new programme of action and will be talking to other unions about the next wave of our campaign.”

PCS has mooted March 28th as a possible strike date, followed by a rolling programme of industrial action, joint union protests and political campaigning.

A statement released by the FBU’s executive council said: “We will now consult members through branches and our committee structure. We recommend there is a rapid move to prepare a strike ballot and that further discussion should finalise the details of this. We will meet again in three weeks, after consulting members, to consider developments.
“We remain committed to maintaining dialogue and hope that the government will now resolve the matter through properly engaging on the issues raised during discussions.”

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