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UK Treasury Secretary resolute on pension plans

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Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander has signalled that ministers will stick to their guns over controversial public-sector pension reforms despite threats of mass strike action.

Mr Alexander said that millions of workers would have to pay more in contributions and work for longer if the value of their retirement benefits was to be maintained into the future.

His comments were condemned by union leaders as the “last straw”, setting the stage for a wave of strikes this autumn on a scale not seen since the general strike of 1926.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls urged unions not to fall into the Government’s “trap” – accusing ministers of deliberately provoking a confrontation so they could blame them for the failing economy.

However, union leaders warned that they could not sit back in the face of such an attack on their members by the Government.

“This is the final straw,” Unison general secretary Dave Prentis told Sky News’s Murnaghan programme.

“Having attacked their jobs and now to take away their pensions in the way this Government is doing, it leaves them no alternative to say we’re going to have to take a stand.

“We wanted to negotiate all the way through. But if we’re going to be treated with disdain in the way that we are being now, then we will move to an industrial action ballot.

“And it will be the biggest action since 1926 because up to 10 million people will be involved.”

His warning was echoed by Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) representing civil servants, whose members have already voted to join teachers in a day of action on June 30.

Source: Press Association

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