Massive council strikes on the horizon

COUNCIL staff have voted in favour of staging what could be the UK s biggest industrial action since the General Strike of 1926. Following a new ballot of unions representing cooks, refuse collectors, home helps and others, March 28 will see up to 1.5 mil

COUNCIL staff have voted in favour of staging what could be the UK's biggest industrial action since the General Strike of 1926.

Following a new ballot of unions representing cooks, refuse collectors, home helps and others, March 28 will see up to 1.5 million staff walk out in protest at pension changes.

Unions are angry at Government plans to scrap a rule that allows some to retire on a full pension at 60.

Councils say that costs mean this must rise to 65 for all employees.


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A total of 28 per cent of members across eight trade unions, including Unison, the TGWU and the GMB, took part in the ballot and around four fifths voted in favour of strike action.

Union leaders also warned there could be further strikes and other industrial action in the run up to the local council elections in May.

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Many civilian police support staff will also be affected.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said the Government had "destroyed the retirement plans of tens of thousands of public sector workers".

He added: "Our members do not take strike action lightly but there is a burning resentment among people who have paid into pensions week in, week out and find they are being treated differently to other public sector workers."

Brian Strutton, national officer of the GMB, agreed, saying: "This is an outrage and the employers need to listen carefully."

But Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: "It is deeply disappointing that even before any decisions have been made, the unions have chosen to go down the route of industrial action.

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