Strikes threat amid pensions review
A review into public sector pensions being published by the Government will bring the threat of industrial action by millions of workers closer, unions warned.
The review, conducted by former Labour cabinet minister Lord Hutton, is expected to recommend NHS staff, teachers and council workers pay more in contributions towards retirement.
He is set to say final salary pension schemes should be replaced with payments linked to average salaries, which unions will argue will cost low paid workers thousands of pounds a year on their "modest" pensions.
He is also thought to be recommending an end to early retirement deals, with public sector workers expected in future to retire at the state pension age - which is due to rise to 66 by 2020.
Armed forces personnel, firemen and police officers - who can currently retire in their 50s - should not get a pension until they reach 60, he is expected to say.
Unions representing millions of public sector staff warned of strike action to protect pensions, accusing the Government of forcing workers to pay the price of the "excesses" of bankers.
They will complain the report is aimed at "clawing back" £2.8 billion in pension costs, whilst at the same time slashing the value of pensions by at least 15% by changing the index for annual uprating from RPI to CPI inflation from April this year
Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, called on the Government to convene urgent talks to discuss the report, rather than "rushing" to make cuts and face industrial action.
"This will be just one more attack on innocent public sector workers who are being expected to pay the price of the deficit, while the bankers who caused it continue to enjoy bumper pay and bonuses. On top of a pay freeze, and the threat of redundancy, they now face a pensions raid. This brings the threat of industrial action closer.
"Workers are already losing out as a result of the Government pre-empting the report, raiding the pension schemes and increasing contributions by 50%," he said.