Britain's biggest union rejected last night the Government's final offer to health service workers in the public sector pensions dispute, raising the prospect of fresh industrial action.
The unanimous decision by the leadership of Unite, which represents 100,000 health service workers, is a blow to ministers' hopes of a speedy resolution to the row. The teachers' union NASUWT meets today to consider a revised offer for its pension scheme amid speculation that it is is also preparing to reject the offer.
Unite's general secretary, Len McCluskey, said the "Government's attacks" on public sector pensions were "part of an overall design to privatise the NHS, cut public services, break up the national pay agreements, and disrupt legitimate trade union activities and organisation".
The British Medical Association decided yesterday to ballot its 130,000 doctors and medical students on whether the offer is acceptable and, if not, whether they would be prepared to take action.