Union chiefs 'hell bent on strikes'


Cabinet minister Danny Alexander today accused some trade union leaders of being "hell bent" on strike action with little regard for the interests of their members.

The Treasury Chief Secretary said the Government would be contacting 2.5 million public sector workers directly over the next weeks to "explain to them directly" the latest improved pensions offer.

Public services are set to be hit by fresh strikes at the end of this month after union bosses declared this week that a more generous offer on pensions reform was not enough to call off planned industrial action.

Mr Alexander told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show today that the Government wanted to appeal directly to union members.

"In a sense the most important here are not the trade union leaders, they are the individual nurses, teachers, civil servants," he said.

"This week and over the next couple of weeks we will be communicating directly to 2.5 million public servants across the country to explain to them directly what it is the Government is offering.

"In a sense in these people's hands is the decision whether or not to go on strike."

Mr Alexander, a Liberal Democrat, insisted that if public sector workers visited the Treasury website to see for themselves the detail of the latest proposals they would find a "generous, positive offer that will protect the value of public service pensions for 25 years to come".

He added: "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.

"What we need to make sure is the interests of public servants are not set aside in the interests of trade union leaders who want to go on strike."