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MPs updated on pension reform talks

The Government will spell out progress made on the bitter public sector pensions dispute, which remains unresolved despite lengthy talks.

Most unions involved in the row are set to take the final offer from ministers to meetings of executives in the New Year for officials to decide the next move.

But the largest civil service union reiterated its view that further industrial action would be necessary to stop the Government's attempt to "force" public servants to pay more and work longer for less in retirement.

Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka said that nothing had changed since the public sector strike on November 30 and that the offer on the table in the civil service was "not good enough". But progress was made in talks covering teachers, local government workers and NHS staff.

The Treasury said: "The Government has reached agreement on the main elements of scheme design with some trade union negotiators regarding proposals for public service pension reform. We welcome these agreements and the constructive approach taken by many trades unions. The Chief Secretary will update Parliament as to the details of these agreements. The unions concerned will need to make further consultations as appropriate."

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Since the day of action we have seen a new atmosphere in the negotiations. The state of play varies between sectors.

"Progress has been made in health and local government where key principles for further negotiation in heads of agreement will provide the basis for further talks in the New Year.

"It's important to stress that no agreements have been reached, but unions now have proposals to put to their executives and members. "We have reached a stage where the emphasis in most cases is in giving active consideration to the new proposals that have emerged rather than considering the prospect of further industrial action.

"We have been talking for many months but since the day of action that involved millions and with the intensive discussions over recent days we now see change. Accrual rates are more favourable then were originally proposed, there is enhanced protection for those nearing retirement, Fair Deal protection for those whose jobs transfer out of the public sector and there will be no adverse changes to pensions for 25 years."

A statement on the local government pension scheme is expected.


From Belfast Telegraph