Unions remain tight-lipped after pensions talks at Congress House


The TUC is to call for the reinstatement of PCS and Unite at government talks over public sector pensions.

The Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who is leading the government’s negotiations, has excluded the two unions for refusing to sign a framework document for further talks.

But at today’s meeting of the Public Sector Liaison Group at the TUC in London, unions said employers should not be allowed to pick and choose which unions they consult.

General secretaries remained tight-lipped after what several sources described as a “tense” two-hour meeting but UnionNews understands the majority of unions intend to continue talks with the government, alongside PCS and Unite, and will keep one another informed of progress in the different sectoral negotiations.

Sources also say most unions believe the talks are beginning to yield positive improvements  on the government’s initial proposals.

The negotiations across the four main sectors – health, local government, education and the civil service – will run on different timetables and may well produce different benefits for members.

The senior reps from the teaching unions which have so far refused to sign the Heads of Agreement are to meet in the coming days to decide whether to endorse the proposed framework.

Welcoming the support of the larger unions for their call to be re-instated in further talks, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “We’re heartened that the meeting agreed to tell the government that it’s unacceptable that unions like ours which have been excluded from talks because we won’t give them what they want.

“That’s not an acceptable way to proceed and that the government should reverse that decision.”

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