Further strikes by school support staff and local authority children’s workers look likely to be averted after union representatives and employers agreed to more talks on the future of the local government pension scheme.
In a joint statement issued yesterday, union leaders and the Local Government Association said that all parties were committed to a “sustainable and affordable” new-look pension scheme for local government employees.
Talks will focus on using half of the savings made by abolishing the 85-year rule – under which long-serving employees can retire early on a full pension – to fund scheme improvements, including protection arrangements for existing staff and creating a more equitable and affordable scheme.
The statement followed the one-day strike by local government workers across the country on March 28.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the agreed framework for negotiations would ensure a focus on the “proper protections” for the pension arrangements of existing staff and in the long term.
“The industrial action by workers covered by the local government pension scheme demonstrated their absolute determination to secure pensions justice,” he said.
“These negotiations now offer a positive route forward to secure fairness and high quality pensions for all workers covered by the scheme in the future.”
Union leaders will now recommend to members that further industrial action over pensions be suspended while the talks take place. The first phase of negotiations will be completed by the end of June.