Women Hardest Hit By Government's Public Sector Pension Reforms, Unison Say

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WOMEN PUBLIC SECTOR PENSION
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Women are the biggest group to be hit by the Government's controversial reforms of public sector pensions which has sparked the threat of a strike by millions of workers, a union has claimed.

Unison said more than 3.7 million women - six in 10 of the total working in public services across the UK - could be affected by plans to make them pay more, work longer and receive less pension.

Nurses, care staff, teaching assistants, social workers and school meals employees are among those affected by the planned 3.25% increase in contributions, said unison.

The union will soon be balloting 1.1 million of its members in local government, the NHS, water companies, the Environment Agency as well as police support staff on whether to strike ahead of the TUC's day of action on November 30.

Dave Prentis, Unison's general secretary, said: "We have found that women are being badly hit by the recession both as providers and as users of services. In the public sector, they face pay freezes at a time of rising inflation, job losses and now an attack on their pension entitlements.

"These women are often low paid and struggling to make ends meet as prices rise and wages are cut. Many are single parents.

"They already pay a sizeable proportion of their salaries into their pension schemes to save for their retirement, and those schemes are already sustainable and affordable.

"Government ministers want them to pay on average around 50% more, with no guarantee that the money will go into the pension schemes. All but the lowest paid will have to pay what is effectively a tax on public sector workers trying to save for their retirement.

"I have said that we are willing to negotiate anywhere, anytime, but after eight months of talks, we don't seem to be making much progress.

"So we are asking members to vote yes to strike action in the forthcoming ballot."

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