Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has come under attack from inside his own party and from unions over claims that public sector workers enjoy “gold-plated and unaffordable pensions”.
The scale of the attack was the first sign that Clegg could be a lightning conductor for some of the political responses to the cuts, the Guardian has reported.
Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, yesterday opened the annual conference of the public services union, vowing to back industrial action to fight the coming spending cuts.
He singled out Clegg for having “lectured” low-paid workers in local government when the Liberal Democrat had himself “claimed for a biscuit tin”.
Prentis warned the government it would not know what had hit it if it took on public sector workers and cut services, pay and pensions. He said if Clegg came “for our pensions, then we will ballot for industrial action”.
He promised that Unison would not go down blind alleys or act prematurely, and that it had the resources and public backing to challenge the cuts.