Some unions 'hell-bent' on public walkout

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Some trade unions are "hell-bent" on strike action, Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary for the Treasury, said yesterday, suggesting little hope for a resolution to the planned mass walkout of public-sector workers on 30 November.

The Liberal Democrat minister said the Government would be contacting 2.5 million public sector workers in coming weeks to "explain to them directly" the latest improved pensions offer.

But he risked inflaming relations with union leaders after attacking their refusal to discuss the Government's revised proposals without lifting the threat of a strike.

Mr Alexander told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show: "I think most of the unions, the moderate unions, want to reach an agreement, but there are some who seem desperate – hell-bent if you like – on strike action."

Public services are set to be hit by a mass walkout at the end of the month after union leaders declared that a more generous offer on pensions reform was not enough to call off planned action.

Mr Alexander said the Government wanted to appeal directly to "individual nurses, teachers, civil servants".