Public service union Unison has warned the Labour government its efforts to alter existing pension schemes across a number of government sectors could have a detrimental affect in the run up to the next general election.
Dave Prentis, Unison general secretary, has sent a letter to all Labour MPs following the announcement this week of government plans to raise the pension age in the NHS to 65 from 60, while also moving towards career average schemes away from final salary pensions.
In his letter, Prentis warns of the ‘widespread anger and resentment’ that could harm Labour in the run up to any election, while Unison is already consulting its local government members over strike action to defend attacks on their pensions.
The union has already pledged to fight attacks on the NHS scheme.
Prentis writes: “I would strongly urge you to use your influence to make the case for the government to suspend its proposed changes, including actively opposing the premature changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme, so that the government and the trade unions can work constructively together on this extremely important issue”.
The government argues people are living longer and should therefore work longer. Prentis says that such gains have not been felt by many public service workers.
”Between 1972 and 1999, Social Class V females (for example, cleaners) experienced no improvement in life expectancy at all. And mortality rates for males between 60 and 65 in local government are found to be as much as twice the UK average for this group.” He added.
In support of Unison's claims, the TUC has announced that it will dedicate 18 February as a nationwide day of campaigning and strike action for union members to voice their concerns over Governments treatment of pensions.
TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber said: “Unions and their members are very angry at the changes the Government is proposing. There is enormous concern at the impact these proposals will have upon the lives of millions of public sector workers. We are determined to keep up the pressure on the Government.”IFAonline
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