Unite Plans Rejection Of NHS Pension Scheme, Warns Of New Strikes

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The head of Britain's biggest union has warned strike action remains a "very real" possibility if the government does not "move on their hardline position" over public sector pensions.

Unite said it plans to reject the government's recommendations for NHS workers' pensions scheme unless there is very real change.

In a statement on Thursday, Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey said: "There have been no substantive changes from what was on the table before Christmas - our hard working members will still be expected to pay more, work longer and get less when they retire.

"Our members are deeply unhappy at the government’s stance and we will be holding a consultative ballot to reaffirm our members’ position – the prospect of further strike action will be very real, unless ministers move on their hardline position.

"Unite calls, yet again, for ministers to enter into real, genuine and meaningful negotiations on the future of NHS pensions before the deadline of 20 February for talks to end."

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "We refuse to accept that civil servants, nurses, teachers and council workers should be bullied into paying more and working longer for less, just to pay off debts racked up by greedy bankers who are still pocketing their bonuses.

"We will now consult members on a new programme of action and will be talking to other unions about the next wave of our campaign."

Their warning comes after Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain could end up with an "apartheid" pension system unless reforms are pushed through in the teeth of trade union opposition.

Talks over the NHS pension scheme will end on February. The union has said it will ballot its 100,000 members in the NHS recommending they reject the government's proposals.

Up to two million public sector workers staged a one-day strike in November in protest at the pension changes and although some progress has been made the dispute remains unresolved.