Belfast Telegraph

Strikes chaos looms over pensions stand-off

By Lisa Smyth

A simmering row over public sector pensions is threatening to devastate services at hospitals and schools across Northern Ireland as a winter of discontent looms.

The TUC has announced a day of action on November 30 — pledging the biggest union mobilisation in a generation.

Up to three million workers across the UK, ranging from firefighters and school dinner ladies to social workers, hospital cleaners and nurses, will take part.

The threat of a UK-wide strike comes as public service unions Unison and Nipsa look likely to engage in industrial action in protest at cuts to the education and health budgets in Northern Ireland.

Unison has sent out ballot papers to members to vote on a one-day strike in October, while Nipsa is in the process of informing employers of its intention to ballot members on industrial action.

It is understood the unions intend to co-ordinate any action to ensure maximum impact.

Unions made a series of announcements about strike ballots during a highly-charged debate at the TUC Congress in London when anger at the Government's plans to increase pension contributions by over 3% spilled over.

Unison, Unite, the GMB and the Fire Brigades Union all gave notice of ballots, which will be held in the coming weeks even though talks with the Government are set to continue.

Belfast Telegraph


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