Unions continuing pensions battle

A strike is on the cards
A strike is on the cards
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Thousands of workers are set to strike for the second time in six months as they continue to fight controversial Government pension reforms.

Members of Unite and the PCS unions are planning to walk out on May 10.

NHS workers and civil servants from across Central Scotland will take part in the one-day action.

Non-essential services are likely to be affected.

Unite represents health staff including paramedics, pharmacists and health visitors, mainly in England and Wales.

This week NHS Forth Valley said that it had not been officially notified of any planned industrial action but that all urgent and essential health services would be maintained if it did go ahead.

Civil servants represented by PCS include staff at Jobcentres, the court service and the Child Support Agency (CSA).

A spokesman for the CSA said its Falkirk office in Callendar Park had remained open during the last period of industrial action and that it was confident services would again be maintained.

Last November, 1.5 million public service workers joined a national strike over the pensions dispute, which has been raging for more than a year.

The Westminster Government will formally announce its intention to reform pensions by including it in the Queen’s speech to parliament on May 9 - the day before the latest strike action.

It says the current cost of public pensions is too high and a burden on the taxpayer. It wants individual contributors to pay more and retire later. It also wants to scrap final salary pensions, instead replacing them with a career average.

Unite national officer for health, Rachael Maskell, said: “The Government is picking the pockets of health workers by an average of £30-a-month in order to pay for pension changes which will see people having to work longer to get less.

“This disgraceful attack comes against a backdrop of pay freezes and the threat of regional pay in the public sector. In the face of continued attacks, health workers will be stepping up their campaign and looking to join other public sector workers in taking action on May 10.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The ongoing programme of industrial action with other unions we have agreed sends a clear message to government ministers that we do not accept their unnecessary plans to force public servants to pay more and work longer for less in retirement.”