27 June 2011
Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander have commented on the meetings on 27 June ahead of the planned industrial action on 30 June.
Today’s meeting was constructive and was just one of a series of ongoing talks the government has committed to with the TUC on public service pensions; further meetings have been scheduled for July. This is a genuine consultation to which we are committed in order to try and agree a way forward with the unions, including on how to implement the changes on contributions set out in the Spending Review.
“We believe both sides have a responsibility to see the talks through and we would urge public workers not to strike while they are ongoing.
“Public service pensions will still be among the very best, with a guaranteed pension which very few private sector staff now enjoy. We are proposing they will be paid later because people live longer, and that public sector staff will pay more, for a fairer balance between what they pay and what other taxpayers pay.
“We recognise that the funding basis for the Local Government Pension Scheme is different. There are important implications for how the contributions and benefits interact, as both Lord Hutton and the Unions have set out. On that basis, we have agreed to have a more in depth discussion with local government unions and the TUC about how we take these factors into account.
“While the talks are ongoing it is obviously disappointing that some unions have decided on industrial action. But what the recent ballot results show is that there is extremely limited support for the kind of strike action union leaders are calling for. Less than 10% of the Civil Service workforce has voted for strike actions and only about a third of teachers.
“We can assure the public now that we have rigorous contingency plans in place to ensure that their essential services are maintained during the strike action on Thursday.