Council workers to vote on strikes to fight pensions changes

The Transport and General Workers’ Union (T&G) has today announced its intention to ballot members in local government about striking against controversial plans to change council workers’ pension schemes.

The Government is planning to raise the retirement age for local government workers from April 2005 from 60 to 65, and to scrap the rule allowing them to take early retirement with a secure income.

The union said the net effect of the proposals gor local government staff would be worse pension benefits for higher levels of contribution.

The T&G’s announcement comes shortly after the biggest union in local government, Unison, declared that it would also ballot members on the issue.

The T&G said that members were angry about plans to make local government workers “work longer for less”, and consultations with members had indicated that they were prepared to fight the pension changes.

Peter Allenson, T&G national secretary for public services, said: “The Government is intent on making hard-pressed council workers work longer for less.

“We reject a ‘work ’til you drop’ culture and the government should be setting an example in pension provision rather than pushing through cuts to benefits.

“If the government makes pension cuts to an already low-paid workforce we would have serious concerns about members’ poverty in retirement.”

The T&G ballot is expected to close on 9  March.

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