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Unions consider final pension deals

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander is expected to set out progress in resolving the public sector pensions dispute in Parliament later today.

Most unions have agreed to consider outline deals for pension reform in their sectors, with initial agreements signed on Monday by those representing local government workers and most health staff. They will now take the final offer back to their members for discussion and balloting.

However, some are unhappy with the limited concessions provided by Government. The major civil service union, PCS, has rejected the latest offer, raising the possibility of further strikes.

Two major teaching unions, the NUT and NASUWT, have also yet to sign up to a deal covering education, but have not completely rejected it either.

The proposals across all parts of the public sector include increasing pension contributions, pegging the public sector pension age to the state pension age and switching people from final salary schemes to career average schemes.

The Government has made concessions to improve accrual rates, and which allow staff in areas transferred out of the public sector to retain the right to stay in the pension scheme.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said there had been a “new atmosphere” in the negotiations since up to two million workers went on strike last month.

A Treasury spokesman said: “The Government has reached agreement on the main elements of scheme design with some trade union negotiators regarding proposals for public service pension reform.

“We welcome these agreements and the constructive approach taken by many trades unions. The unions concerned will need to make further consultations as appropriate.”

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