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Huge majority rejects pension offer

Civil and public servants have overwhelmingly rejected the Government's pensions offer, setting the stage for a fresh round of industrial action.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said its consultation ballot of members had shown support for continuing a campaign against pension changes.

Some 90.5% of those who took part in the ballot rejected the Government's proposals for a new pension scheme, and 72.1% backed continuing the campaign, including further industrial action with other unions.

The announcement came as the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said it was calling a one-day regional strike in London on March 28 as the next step in its pensions campaign.

The national executive committee of the PCS, which represents around 290,000 civil and public servants, will now meet on Monday to consider the ballot results, the position of other unions and to decide on the next step.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Civil and public servants can see that this Government simply wants to make them pay for the mistakes of bankers and politicians, and have rejected by a massive margin this attack on their pensions.

"Ministers must now seriously engage in negotiations on the core issues if they want a settlement. The vote shows we remain committed to resisting this Government's attacks on pensions, jobs and pay, and to working with other unions to build further co-ordinated industrial action."

The Government has been embroiled in an ongoing row with unions over the future of public sector pensions. While some have now agreed to accept a deal, other unions have rejected the Government's offer, maintaining that it will leave then working longer, paying in more and receiving less when they retire. Ministers argue that changes are needed to make pensions sustainable for the future.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: "It is very disappointing that the PCS union continues to want futile and disruptive strike action, especially when only a third of their members voted in this recent ballot.

"Last week we set out our final proposed agreement on pension reform following over a year of constructive engagement with trades unions. This agreement represents fair, affordable long-term reform that will allow public service workers to face their future with certainty. They are fair to the other taxpayers and beyond the expectations of most people in the private sector."


From Belfast Telegraph