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Public sector faces strike action

Construction union UCATT is set to ballot its members on strike action across 500 public sector organisations.

In a row over  pensions, UCATT will be balloting its members in local government, the NHS and the civil service, with strike action for 30 October.

George Guy, acting general secretary of UCATT, said: “Public sector workers are being hit by a triple whammy on their pensions by the government. They are being told they will have to pay more, for a lower pension and they will have to work longer to receive it. This is totally unfair especially at a time when most workers have already had their pay frozen and inflation is rocketing.”

Contrary to popular myths, public sector workers do not enjoy gold plated pensions, the union said. The average pension in local government is worth just £4,000 per annum.  

The government proposes employees should contribute 3 per cent of their pay to their pensions. This would be an additional £48-£67 a month for most UCATT local government members, it said.

Mr Guy said: “Strike action and balloting for industrial action is never taken lightly but the Government has refused to enter into meaningful negotiations after nine months of talks.”

In June, Prime Minister David Cameron said that state pensions required reform, not because they are “gold plated”, but because of the number of people nearing retirement age. “The reason we can’t go on as we are is because as the baby boomers retire – and thankfully live longer – the pension system is in danger of going broke.

“We need to rebalance the system. That’s why from April next year, we are proposing to increase the contributions public sector workers have to make to their pension,” he said.

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