Strikes loom despite concession over pensions

Widespread strikes over public sector pensions look set to go ahead this month despite a government offer to scale back planned cuts.

Dr Meldrum: step in the right direction (Photograph: JH Lancy)

Despite the concession, a GP with more than 10 years to retirement earning £100,000 pensionable income would see the value of their annual pension fall from £37,400 to £33,333, according to medical accountants Ramsay Brown and Partners.

However, the original cuts proposed by the government would cut the same GP's annual pension to £30,769.

Public sector unions welcomed the government's offer, which would increase a 'cost ceiling' by 8% and give more flexibility to those within 10 years of retirement.

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum called the announcement 'a step in the right direction', although he warned that there was still a long way to go.

Despite admitting the government's offer was an improvement, members of public sector union Unison voted to go ahead with strikes. It said it had yet to receive a 'scheme-specific' offer and had authorised industrial action on 30 November.

The union Unite issued a joint statement with the TUC's public services liaison group welcoming the government's offer.

But the group warned that unless further progress was made, unions remained 'firmly committed to the planned day of action on November 30'. Unite is currently balloting members.

'The government's claim that many staff will get a better deal is questionable when you take into account that they will have to work for up to eight additional years,' Dr Meldrum said.

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