Union leaders warn David Cameron over cuts

Trade union leaders warned David Cameron today that the Coalition Government’s deep spending cuts would be damaging, dangerous and would hit the poor hardest.





At the first meeting between a Conservative Prime Minister and the Trade Union Congress for 25 years, Mr Cameron promised to order Cabinet ministers to ensure a “constructive dialogue” with unions in their areas of responsibility. But there was no meeting of minds on the central issue of the economy.

Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, said after the hour-long session in the Cabinet Room: “We emphasised the fundamental disagreement we have with the Government's decision to focus on reducing the deficit. We told him [Mr Cameron] in pretty stark terms that this will have hugely negative consequences for the future of our public services and the fabric of our society and on jobs."

Warning of a “bleak midwinter" as a result of the deficit reduction plans, Mr Barber said: “We warned the Prime Minister that next year promises to be even bleaker for millions of families and their communities as the spending cuts bite hard and hit jobs and services.”

Over coffee and mince pies, the 15-strong union delegation urged Mr Cameron do more to raise more money from the banks. Mr Barber said there were "useful discussions" on green growth and jobs, manufacturing and equality, and welcomed Mr Cameron's intention to "continue this dialogue" on issues such as public sector pensions and Royal Mail privatisation.

Mr Cameron insisted that the controversial decision to link benefits and public sector pensions to the consumer price index, which is normally about 1 per cent lower than rather than the retail price index, was not up for negotiation.

Downing Street described the meeting as “business-like”. Mr Cameron’s spokesman said: “There are issues where it clearly makes sense to have a dialogue with the unions, for example on what we are doing on skills and promoting growth and what we are doing regionally to promote growth. This was a meeting that they asked for. The discussion was about the economy and public services."

The TUC has not endorsed calls by some union leaders for co-ordinated industrial action against the cuts but is organising a major demonstration next March. A spokesman for Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, dismissed the calls for strikes as “overblown rhetoric...wrong and unhelpful.”

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Sport
Harry Redknapp. Mark Hughes and Ryan Shawcross
footballNews and updates as Queens Park Rangers host the Potters
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
i100
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
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

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam