UK reaches pension reform deal with most unions
LONDON - Reuters
A member of the general trade union GMB stands outside The Houses of Parliament in London on November 30, 2011 with a protest placard as public sector staff strike over pensions. AFP PhotoBritish Treasury minister Danny Alexander on Tuesday said the government had reached a tentative deal on pension reform with most public sector unions, whose members had threatened further strikes over the issue after a mass walkout last month.
"I am pleased to report to the House that heads of agreement have now been established with most unions in the local government, health, civil service and teachers schemes," Alexander told parliament.
"It will now of course be for union executives and memberships to decide their response," he added.
The government is trying to tackle a big budget deficit, and argues that current public sector pensions are unaffordable because people are living longer than in the past. Unions say the reforms will force people to work longer before they can retire and pay more for pensions that will be worth less.