Trade unions set to fight public sector pension reforms

A NUMBER of the UK’s largest trade unions spoke out yesterday against the government’s plans to review public sector pension schemes.

Unison, Unite and rail union RMT warned the government ahead of today’s Budget that plans to cut public sector pensions could be damaging.

Dave Prentis, general secretary at Uniso, demanded that the review body looking into public sector pensions, which will be chaired by former Labour minister John Hutton, should be truly independent.

He said: “Only three years ago, public sector pensions went through massive changes to make them sustainable and affordable.”

Prentis added: “Since then, there has been constant sniping and carping by the Tories and Lib Dems about unreformed, gold-plated pensions, quoting grossly misleading figures to create a climate for cuts.”

Derek Simpson, joint general secretary of Unite, said that it was “disappointing” that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg wanted to “smash public sector pensions”.

Meanwhile, RMT boss Bob Crow called for an emergency meeting at the Trade Union Congress yesterday to “map out a co-ordinated campaign of industrial and political action against plans to attack pay, jobs and pensions”.

The government is also facing opposition to the cuts from within its own ranks.

Will Hutton, who was called in by the coalition to lead a review into the country’s fair pay, has called the spending cuts “brutish” and said the coalition is adopting an “economic scorched earth policy” when it comes to addressing the deficit.