UNISON renews threat of strike action over pensions

The general secretary of UNISON renewed the threat of strike
action to defend public sector pensions in a scathing attack on the
government today, writes Maria Ahmed from UNISON’s
annual conference in Glasgow.

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Dave Prentis

Speaking at UNISON’s annual conference in Glasgow, Dave Prentis
accused the government of “underestimating” workers’ anger at
plans to change the local government pension scheme.

He said: “Let me say this to the government loud and clear…if
you think UNISON members will pick up the bill for the plundering
of our pension funds by the last Tory government to fund council
tax reductions, think again”.

Prentis warned the government that workers would strike “across
all sectors” to defend pensions and fight proposals to increase the
pension age and cut benefits.

John Prescott avoided a 24-hour strike on March 23 by reaching
an agreement with UNISON and other unions representing 1.4 million
council staff over changes to the pension scheme.

Prescott announced he would revoke proposed changes including
raising the minimum pension age for local government workers from
50 to 55 for reasons other than ill health, and raising the
retirement age from 60 to 65.

UNISON are expecting the changes to be revoked within the next
few weeks and said they will not enter into negotiation with the
government over the scheme until this happens.

Prentis said: “We will fight for pensions that give dignity and
security to all our members in retirement.”



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