Unions echo BMA anger over pension talks

Public sector unions have said the government's stance on pension cuts leaves 'no opportunity' for successful negotiations and warned strikes would go ahead next month.

Dr Meldrum: no flexibility on the part of the government over GP pensions
Dr Meldrum: no flexibility on the part of the government over GP pensions

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum hit out at government inflexibility in pension talks earlier this month.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber met with chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude to discuss public sector pensions on Monday.

Mr Barber said: ‘We have made it very clear that the current approach provides no opportunity for us to reach an agreement.

‘We have urged them to reconsider their approach to enable negotiations in each of the schemes - NHS, local government, civil service and teaching - to have a chance of reaching an agreement.’

Mr Barber said the unions and the government were heading for a ‘very difficult conflict’.

He added: ‘I hope they change their position, but our plans for November 30 are going ahead very strongly.’

A government spokesman said: ‘We are continuing to engage with the TUC on reforming public service pensions. Discussions are currently proceeding within the schemes.

‘The government made a good offer at the beginning of October which ensures that for most people in the public sector their pensions at retirement would continue to be as good as they are now – and it is time for the unions to engage and respond constructively.’

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