Unions threaten action over plans to scrap council workers’ retirement rule

Government plans to scrap a rule that allows some council workers to retire on a full pension at 60 are facing a backlash from unions.

Deputy prime minister John Prescott will spell out his intention in a written Commons statement.

The rule allows workers to retire if their age plus number of years they have worked equals 85 or above.

Public sector unions will meet next week to consider the possibility of calling a national strike on the issue.

If the so-called ‘rule of 85’ ends, all two million local government workers will work until the age of 65 by 2013.

The proposals will be put out to consultation for a minimum of 12 weeks.

However, Sandy Bruce Lockhart, chairman of the Local Government Association, said changes to the scheme were “both needed and necessary”.

“In the long run, the current pensions scheme for council staff, particularly the ‘rule of 85’ is not economically viable for council taxpayers, employers or employees,” he said.

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