Unions up pressure for equal pension rights
Housing officers' unions are gearing up for strike action as part of their plans to convince the government to protect local government workers' pension rights.
Public sector union Unison is preparing to reballot its members in case talks between its negotiators, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, and local government groups break down at a crunch meeting next Wednesday.
The union will press for the same rights awarded to civil servants, health and education workers. The controversial decision to allow public sector workers to retain their right to retire at 60 was finally
agreed at a Cabinet meeting last week.
Mr Prescott - who has the final say on the local government pension scheme - was however understood to be away when the decision was made.
A spokesperson for Unison said it would call on the government to offer council housing officers a similar deal.
But they face a much tougher fight to maintain their existing pension rights as the LGPS is part-funded through the local government budget.