Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has claimed George Osborne is actively seeking a confrontation with the unions like former Tory prime minister Baroness Thatcher.
He urged trade unions not to fall into the "trap" set for them by a Government eager for a confrontation to divert attention from the economy.
He claimed there was "something of the Margaret Thatcher" about the Chancellor, and warned that the Government was adopting a 1980s-style approach to industrial relations.
With the threat of a mass walkout in November over planned changes to public sector pensions, Mr Balls said: "If George Osborne really wants to sort this out, he should get round the table and have serious discussions with the trade unions.
"I fear that what he really wants is strikes in the autumn to divert attention away from an economic plan which isn't working.
"Strikes are always a last resort, I hope they won't happen, but it's unfair what the Government is doing.
"I said at the very beginning, back in spring, I thought that was a trap being set.
"We lost seven-times more days in strikes in the 1980s than in the last 10 years. Why? Because back then in the 1980s it was confrontational. Unions against management, unions against government, strikes here and there.
"Most people would say that's a really bad way to run our economy.
"But there's something of the Margaret Thatcher sometimes in George Osborne: raising VAT, 'I'll go on and on and on, I'll take the unions on'."
Mr Balls added: "I think that's very 1980s. We are in a different place now, the world's moved on, we should be working together to sort out problems.
"I think the George Osborne confrontation should be matched by the trade unions, as they are, saying 'We want to talk and get this sorted out'. I hope that can work."