Unison threatens strike over pensions

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The Government has been given two weeks to honour a deal over pensions or face industrial action by a million public-sector workers.

The Government has been given two weeks to honour a deal over pensions or face industrial action by a million public-sector workers.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, the country's largest union, warned the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, that if he did not scrap legislation currently going through Parliament local government employees would be balloted on industrial action

Ministers avoided a public-sector strike before the election by agreeing to withdraw a statutory order paving the way for changes to the pension schemes of council workers.

Mr Prentis said the Deputy Prime Minister had overruled local authority management and pension fund managers by agreeing the pre-election deal, but he was now under renewed pressure to abandon the agreement.

Unison's annual conference passed a motion yesterday committing the union to vote on industrial action throughout the public sector if necessary. Such ballots would cover an additional four million workers and constitute the biggest campaign of stoppages since the General Strike in 1926.

Mr Prentis said the average pension in the Civil Service and local government amounted to just £3,700 a year. "The idea is being spun that we are trying to protect unjustified, gold-plated schemes," he said. "That is absolute nonsense."

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