Unions critical of new pension deal

Members of the NUT and other unions hold a rally in St John's Square as part of a strike over pensions.
Members of the NUT and other unions hold a rally in St John's Square as part of a strike over pensions.
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Union leaders have given Government negotiations over pay and pensions short shrift.

The coalition is talking to unions representing teachers and hospital staff across the Fylde coast – but is yet to enter into talks with Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) workers – following the nationwide strikes on November 30.

Ken Cridland of Lancashire NUT

Ken Cridland of Lancashire NUT

Despite negotiations starting and some concessions made to hospital staff, talks with Unison appeared to break down yesterday.

And while some concessions have been made for teachers, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), representing DWP workers, appears to have been snubbed

National Union of Teachers (NUT) regional secretary Ken Cridland said: “The Government seems to be making the PCS workers scapegoats for all of this, and Unite, Unison and the GMB have all suspended their agreement with the Government pending further talks.

“Their changes to the accrual rate for teachers shows they are looking at ways through the problems. But there doesn’t seem to be much momentum on other major issues.”

The NUT is worried that teachers paid at a higher rate, but working part time and therefore earning less, would be taxed at the same rate as those working full time.

But Steve Holmes, representing Unison workers at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, said the situation was changing for them with some concessions offered.

He added: “We are having meetings in the New Year to get feedback on the offer – it’s very difficult to gauge the mood at the moment.

“They have offered a change in the retirement age and no additional contributions for those earning below £26,000, but there’s not too many details as yet.”

But PCS branch chairman Martin Jones said the Government had refused to engage in negotiations.

He added: “They are unwilling to negotiate with us on any of the key aspects of the deal.

“All this when we have a starting point of a seven-year pay freeze. Our national body is still available for talks.”