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Workers ready to fight for pensions

Public sector workers still have an appetite for industrial action over pensions amid "confusion" about the Government's controversial reforms, according to a new study.

Support for industrial action increased by almost four percentage points to 37% since last year, when more than a million and a half public sector employees went on strike, a survey of 1,000 workers by recruitment firm Badenoch & Clark found.

Almost nine out of 10 of those questioned said the pension changes and continued pay freezes would hit recruitment of new staff.

Only half of the workers polled said they knew how the reforms would affect them, while one in five did not understand the changes at all.

Matt Gascoigne, of Badenoch & Clark, said: "The public sector has traditionally been able to compete with the private sector for talent by offering attractive benefit packages.

"Pensions have been a key component to this package and it seems that forthcoming changes to pension contributions have not been well received by employees.

"With a third of those surveyed also believing that pay grades should be equal across both the private and public sector, it is important that senior leaders and management refocus attention and re-emphasise the actual career opportunities and potential that the sector has to offer."

The report said there was "increased dissatisfaction and general confusion" over the planned changes, which have not been accepted by most unions, although some are now consulting their members on whether to accept them.

The survey follows decisions this week by the two biggest teachers' unions to reject the reforms and to continue their campaigns of opposition.

The National Union of Teachers said consultation among its members showed "strong support" for its campaign, including the possibility of further industrial action, while the NASUWT also continued to reject the Government's final plans and will carry on with its campaign of action short of a strike.


From Belfast Telegraph