Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, rejects 'deeply inflammatory' public intervention by the government in the public sector pensions dispute:
"At such a critical time in complex negotiations this is a deeply inflammatory public intervention with a clumsy mix of announcements apparently designed to pre-empt the talks, coupled with crude threats that even worse terms might be imposed if unions refuse to acquiesce to this assault on their pensions.
"Many of the detailed proposals set out by Danny Alexander today have not even been put to the TUC negotiators, and the government has yet to give a response to specific proposals tabled by the trade union side.
"I have found over many years that if you are seriously trying to build trust to settle a difficult dispute you should talk honestly and openly inside the negotiating room and exercise self restraint outside.
"This speech, and the media-spinning operation around it, has dealt a serious blow to union confidence in the government’s good faith in these talks."