Public servants challenge government to come up with improved pensions offer or they will strike


UNISON members have given the green light to strike action on November 30th.

Yesterday’s ballot result saw 245,358 members – a massive 78% – vote in favour of action to protect their pensions, with 70,253 voting against, on a 29% turnout.

Immediately after the overwhelming ‘Yes’ vote, reps still had to decide whether or not to press ahead with strike action. Senior lay officials yesterday met throughout the afternoon to examine details of the government’s proposals announced on Wednesday and to discuss how to co-ordinate action on November 30th with other unions.

General secretary Dave Prentis said: “The ‘Yes’ vote signals the green light for the first day of strike action, and we will be joining with other unions in the TUC co-ordinated day of action on November 30th.

“While there was significant movement from the government, at this stage we only have a theoretical pension scheme, that has yet to be translated into scheme offers.  We have no offer in either the local government or the health pension schemes that we can put to our members.

“What we do have is a overwhelming ‘Yes’ vote in a legal ballot.  And our democratic committees have taken the decision to authorise action with the TUC in line with the wishes of our members.

“So it is now up to government ministers and employers‚ to get down to work and come up with firm offers that we can put to our members.”

The union says that government plans mean public service workers are being asked to pay more in pension contributions by an average of more than 50% for someone earning more than £15,000.  UNISON calculates that this amounts to an average pay cut of 3%.

UNISON joins ATL, NUT, PCS and UCU in taking action on November 30th. – have already voted “Yes” to strike action. A further 14 unions – AEP, Aspect, BAOT, CSP, EIS, FDA, GMB, MiP, NASUWT, Prospect, SCP, SoR, UCAC and Unite – have announced plans to ballot their members. The EIS result is expected later today.

The POA, whose members are denied the right to take strike action, is also planning to take action on November 30th, as are members of the RCN.

Unions are preparing for what they expect could be protracted legal challenges from employers who will claim that the planned mass public sector strike on 30th of November is a political act, not a trade dispute.

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