James Forsyth

Unions hit government on pension changes

Unions hit government on pension changes
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The coalition’s plan to leave the Public and Commercial Services Union isolated in its opposition to the proposed changes to public sector pensions has had several setbacks today. The Unite union, which is a major Labour donor, has declared that the government’s offer on NHS pensions is inadequate. This suggests that Unite members in the health service, of whom there are 100,000, could go out on strike again soon.

Another worry for the government is that the British Medical Association, the doctors’ trade union, is indicating that it might hold a strike ballot once it has canvassed the views of its members.

Ultimately, I think the government can win the argument over public sector pensions. Even after these proposed changes, they’ll be generous in comparison to what is on offer in the private sector. But it is clear that the ‘deal’ Danny Alexander announced at the end of last year is not going to be the end of the matter as many in government hoped it would be.