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Unions set to back pre-election strike

Unions are today expected to announce huge support for a pre-election strike by 1.5 million council workers and civil servants.
Industrial action came a step nearer last night when talks aimed at resolving a bitter row over pensions ended without agreement.

Leaders of the country's biggest trade unions spent just over an hour with Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and local authority officials to try to break the deadlock over controversial government plans to raise the retirement age for council staff from 60 to 65.

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