400,000 set for pensions protest

 

A fresh wave of industrial action will be held this week against the Government's controversial public sector pension reforms, with union leaders predicting that up to 400,000 workers could be involved.

Civil servants, lecturers, health workers, Ministry of Defence staff, immigration officers, off-duty police officers and members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary will be among those joining strikes and other forms of protest on Thursday.

The walkout follows last November's huge stoppage by over one and a half million workers in protest at the planned changes to their pensions.

Most public sector unions remain opposed to the reforms, which they warned would leave millions of workers having to pay more into their pensions, retire later and receive less when they stop work.

Off-duty rank-and-file police officers will also march through central London on Thursday, passing by the Home Office, in a protest over proposed changes to their pay and conditions.

Along with the armed forces and prison officers, the police are banned in law from taking industrial action.

Many officers are angry with the Government in the wake of 20% budget cuts and proposals for the most wide-ranging reform of police pay and conditions in more than 30 years.

The Police Federation said its protest would show "the unprecedented attack on policing by this Government and the consequences that these cuts will have for public safety".

The pensions dispute has been raging for over 18 months, with warnings of further strikes in June and throughout the summer.

Ministers insist the current level of public sector pensions is unsustainable and reforms are needed, saying workers will still receive decent payments on retirement.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, said: "The coalition has reduced tax for super-earners while making cuts to vital public services like jobcentres, borders and tax collection.

"Public sector workers have seen thousands of their colleagues sacked, their pay has been frozen for two years, and they are being told they must pay much more, and work for up to eight years longer for smaller pensions.

"That's why hundreds of thousands of workers will be striking on Thursday in opposition to the Government's prescription of austerity and misery that has plunged the UK back into recession."

Jobcentres, airports, tax offices, colleges, driving test centres, museums and military sites will all be hit by this week's strike.

Picket lines will be mounted outside Government buildings, Parliament, museums and galleries, while rallies will be held across the country, including London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Liverpool.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, said: "It is very disappointing that a minority of union insist on carrying on with a futile and disruptive strike action which will benefit no one. We would urge union leaders to reconsider their position. Pension talks will not be reopened and members are risking losing a day's pay for nothing.

"In March we set out our final proposed agreement on pension reform following more than a year of intensive discussions with trades unions. Our reforms ensure that public sector pensions will remain among the very best available and that they can be sustained for the future."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Interactive / Mobile Developer

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Midweight

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Front End Developer

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer - Midweight / Senior

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives