More workers back pension strikes

 

Probation officers, bus drivers, police civilians and museum staff were among the latest workers to back a pensions strike today, increasing the prospect of the biggest day of industrial unrest for decades.

Unite and the National Association of Probation Officers (Napo) said their members had voted in favour of taking industrial action in protest at the Government's controversial pension reforms.

More than two million workers are now set to walk out on November 30 for a day of action co-ordinated by the TUC, which will disrupt schools, courts, government offices, jobcentres, driving tests, council services and hospitals.

Unite said 75% of those who took part in its ballot said yes to taking part in the strike, with a 31% turnout covering more than 200 employers.

Unite workers at Mersey Tunnels, Greater Manchester Transport, Glasgow City Council, Scottish Water, West Midlands Police Authority, Northern Ireland bus services, Cardiff buses, the British Film Institute, the British Museum and South Yorkshire Police were among those backing strikes.

The union said its vote should heap further pressure on the Government to rethink its plans to "force" public-sector workers to pay more and work longer, but for a poorer pension in retirement.

General secretary Len McCluskey said: "Yet again public-sector workers are telling the Government that enough is enough.

"They have endured wages cuts, rising living costs and horrific job losses, as this Government forces the less well-off in this country to pay for the sins of the elite. They are not prepared to stomach this attack on their pensions too."

Napo said its members voted by a "massive" 83% in favour of industrial action on a 45% turnout. It will only be the third time in its 100-year history that Napo members will take national strike action.

Jonathan Ledger, Napo's general secretary, said: "Napo's members have sent the Government a clear message.

"Its attack on their pension entitlement is not fair, not reasonable and not necessary. They have joined the hundreds of thousands of hard-working public-sector workers who are uniting in defence of their pensions, pensions earned after years of demanding work on behalf of our communities.

"This union does not take strike action lightly. Our members care passionately about their work and remain committed to the best interests of the people whom they serve diligently every day.

"But they also believe in respect and fairness, and this Government is showing them none at a time when cuts and privatisation are creating uncertainty about the future.

"Their pensions are vital to our members, hard-earned and essential for a secure and dignified retirement.

"The Government needs to return to the negotiating table and make real and creditable changes to its pension proposals if this dispute is to be resolved."

Labour leader Ed Miliband urged both sides in the dispute to negotiate.

He said: "There is a huge responsibility on both sides, even at this late stage, to stop the strike happening.

"The unions need to show that they are willing to negotiate, the Government needs to show that it too is willing to negotiate."

Answering questions after a keynote speech on the economy in central London, he said the Government had not moved on the "crucial issue" of the 3% rise in contributions for public-sector workers and had "neither provided an adequate explanation nor do they seem to be doing proper negotiations".

The November 30 walkout is set to be the biggest day of industrial unrest since the 1979 Winter of Discontent.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: "We have listened to the concerns of public sector workers about their pensions and responded with a new generous settlement which is beyond the dreams of most private employees. I urge the trade unions to devote their energy to reaching agreement and not to unnecessary and damaging strike action, which is often on the basis of low turnout. In Unite's ballot, announced today, less than a third of their members actually voted.

"These new generous protections represent a very big move. They include a more generous 'accrual rate' and protections for anyone within 10 years of their pension age. The settlement will see public service workers getting a guaranteed benefit in retirement, not subject to market fluctuations or fees - something which has all but been eliminated elsewhere.

"It is now time for the unions to respond in a responsible manner. The new deal is conditional on agreement being reached in scheme by scheme talks with the unions."

PA

News
people And here is why...
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

QA/BA - Agile

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

Primary Supply Teacher

£121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Primary supply teacher Hertford...

KS1 & KS2 Teacher

£115 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: We are looking for infants and...

Secondary Trained Teachers for the watford area

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Qualified secondary teachers - ...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?