Trade unions and the government have agreed a deal over the future of several public service pension schemes.
The government today announced that it has dropped its suggestion that current members of the health, civil service and education schemes should retire at 65 – five years later than the current retirement age for civil servants.
Alan Johnson, secretary of state for trade and industry, said: “We should give people flexibility about when they choose to retire, but it’s vital that we retain the experience and expertise that older workers have to offer and don’t force them into premature retirement at 60.
“Today’s deal means that public sector workers will continue to get good quality pensions which are defined benefit, but like the state pension and pensions in the private sector, the normal pension age for new entrants will now be 65.”
TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said: “Working together through the TUC, public service unions have today won a major breakthrough. It is being recommended to public service unions for endorsement.
“The government has accepted that today’s public sector staff should not have their pensions promise broken, and need suffer no detriment in their pensions arrangements. This has met the major union objective.”
The general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, Mark Serwotka, also welcomed the agreement.
“Against a backdrop of the government seeking to impose pension changes, this agreement is a significant achievement. It illustrates what the trade unions representing millions of public sector workers can achieve by working and campaigning together.
“The government has quite rightly recognised that it cannot arbitrarily change people’s contracts and it is a principle that should be extended to the rest of the public sector including local government.”
But employers’ groups immediately railed against the government, calling the decision “unacceptable”.