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Pension strikes deadlock remains

The likelihood of widespread industrial action by public sector workers over pensions has increased after the union representing headteachers said it will hold its first-ever strike ballot and fresh talks with the Government failed to break the deadlock.

Members of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) will vote from September 29 on whether to strike for the first time in the union's 114-year history.

The ballot result is due on November 9, a few weeks before the TUC's day of action on November 30 in protest at the Government's controversial plans to increase pension contributions for millions of public sector workers.

The union represents 28,500 headteachers, as well as deputy and assistant heads, in schools across Wales, England and Northern Ireland.

Talks between union leaders, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander ended with the two sides still a "long way apart", according to TUC general secretary Brendan Barber.

He said after the two-hour meeting at the Cabinet Office that unions remain committed to continuing with the long-running talks but are pressing ahead with planning for industrial action.

The two sides talked about the future funding limit that might be applied to each of the public sector pension schemes and further discussions will be held, Mr Barber said.

He added: "There has been no dramatic change and unions will be stepping up their efforts to ballot their members and planning for industrial action. We have put some serious proposals on the table but regrettably the ministers did not accept them and are continuing to press ahead with very damaging changes to pensions."


From Belfast Telegraph