Unions Accuse Government of Ruining Pensions Agreement

The public sector pension’s dispute continues this week, as unions accuse Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles of imposing new conditions on a possible settlement. Trade unions representing health workers, teachers, civil servants and council workers have been on strike over proposals to make members work longer before retirement and pay more into their pension funds. An agreement had apparently been reached earlier this week, in which unions agreed to the proposed changes in return for changes in the rates at which workers build up pension rights.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander told the House of Commons told the House of Commons that unions had agreed to the proposals. Shortly afterward though, trade unions objected to a letter from Mr. Pickles that spelled out the specifics of the agreement. The objection of the trade unions centred upon a statement in the letter that limits would be set to pension contributions from councils, which the unions claimed was not part of the original agreement.

According to the unions, the letter has undermined the “trust and confidence in the relationship with the government.” Mr. Alexander has stated that the letter from Mr. Pickles was being “withdrawn.” No new letter has been issued yet, and the unions are still angry.

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