UK - Around 1.5 million council workers in the UK have now voted for strike action against government proposals to downgrade the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).
The voting, by members of various unions including the Transport and General Workers union (T&G), Amicus and Unison, followed a decision by central government and local government employers to remove the 85-year rule from the 1 October 2006.
The rule allows members of the scheme to retire at 60 on a full pension if their age and years of service totals 85. The changes would put into effect the right to retire at 60 but at the expense of a reduced pension.
The T&G confirmed today its members in the LGPS voted by over 8-to-1 to take strike action. Members of the union Amicus, for instance, had voted 90 percent for action last week.
The average local government pension is currently only £3,800,- below the average of other public sector schemes and, according to the T&G, the changes will affect one in ten people in the UK of whom many would find themselves more reliant on means tested benefits.
Tony Woodley, T&G General Secretary, said: “This strike is about low paid council workers, the majority of them women, defending themselves and claiming what rightfully theirs.”
Woodley said a settlement could be found if the political will was there, pointing towards the fast approaching local government elections due in May.
“It cannot be right that people who sighed up to a contract are now being told they cannot claim what is rightfully theirs after a lifetime of work. Ministers and council leaders can be clear our member will strike if that is what it takes to inject some common sense into this situation.”
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