An official statement from the public services Unison on 30 March condemned the Deputy Prime Minister’s “provocative” action in pressing ahead with cuts in local government pensions.
General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said:
“John Prescott’s action today in laying an order in Parliament to cut pension rights is provocative, premature and unnecessary. It will further inflame the anger felt by our members at the way in which they are being treated by their Government and their employers.
“We put forward proposals both yesterday and today that would have formed the basis for joint talks. The Government is proposing to abolish the Rule of 85 from October this year. An Order to this effect doesn’t need to be laid until the summer recess in July. This delay would have allowed further talks to take place. These proposals have clearly been rejected by the Deputy Prime Minister. This will simply increase our determination to see this dispute through. “
Next week, the nation’s meat inspectors will be on strike meat production at major plants throughout the UK will be halted. And a further three days of strike action affecting the whole of the UK will be called from 25 to 27 April, with possible further action in May.
The action follows a one-day strike by more than one million public sector workers on Tuesday 28 March. That strike saw 17,500 schools, thousands of libraries, council offices, refuse depots, crematoria closed, transport services such as the Mersey ferry, Mersey and Tyne and Wear tunnels, Tyne and Wear Metro and Thames Barrier closed and buses and trains suspended in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Wales and Northern Ireland. Meat supplies to Smithfield market in London were seriously disrupted with no Scottish beef reaching the market at all.
1,000 meat hygiene service members (meat inspectors) the people who make sure the meat on our plates is safe - will strike from midnight Sunday 2 April to midnight Friday 7 April.
More than one million members will be called out in a rolling programme of regional strike action between 25 and 27 April. Details of possible further action in May will be announced later.
* The Government has laid an order in Parliament today that abolishes the so-called Rule of 85 from 1 October 2006. That rule allows people to retire at 60 with the pension they have paid for, if they have at least 25 years service.