04/02/2005

Unions to ballot members over pension age proposals

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) have announced plans to ballot their members on strike action, over government plans to raise the public sector pension age to 65.

The PCS, which has 290,00 public sector members, will join UNISON, the TGWU and Amicus, in balloting their members about a possible strike on March 23.

The government recently announced plans to raise the pension age for civil and public service employees from 60 to 65. The measures, which also include plans to end the final salary pension scheme, have been met with criticism and anger from the unions.

PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka, said: "The average civil service pension is just £4800 per year and for many thousands of civil and public servants, they are seeing their contracts with their future torn up in front of their eyes.

"With thousands of hardworking civil and public servants already facing the axe and increasing insecurity over their futures, the government's forced pension age rise comes as a double whammy.

"We urge the government to engage in meaningful negotiation and think again about forcing people to work an extra five years and give people real choices about their futures."

The government has stated that no changes would be made to the pensions system without the unions being consulted first.

However, the PCS said that the government had indicated that they were willing to consult on the final salary scheme, but said that they had "made clear" that there was "no intention to consult or negotiate" over the pension age rise.

The PCS ballot is expected to close on or around March 10.

(KMcA/SP)

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