Tensions are rising following reports that Chancellor Gordon Brown will use this week’s launch of the Turner report on pensions as an excuse to scrap the public sector pensions deal.
In October, trade and industry secretary, Alan Johnson, struck a deal with unions which means all current public sector employees are still able to retire at 60, with all new staff retiring at 65.
On Wednesday, the Turner report is expected to recommend that the state pension age should go up to 67, prompting accusations of a two-tier workforce.
A Treasury source told the Sunday Times: “Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Hutton recognise that if Turner says 67 should be the retirement age you would be in a completely different world.
“There’s definitely a view that Turner can be used as an opportunity to reopen the debate. The unions should accept this and accept they have to be part of that discussion,” the source said.
But TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, warned of strikes if the government reneged on the deal, saying it would be “ludicrous” to use Turner as an excuse.
“We made an agreement. We are now talking about seeing the agreement honoured,” he said.