Len McCluskey, Unite's general secretary accuses David Cameron of "crocodile tears" over cuts and says that the public do not believe him:
"Whatever the prime minister may claim, local government is another area, just as with the NHS, where workers simply do not believe what he is saying - and that is because they do not think the coalition has their interests at heart. Increasingly, it seems, the public do not believe his government either. The solution is not to try to poison the debate, but to support meaningful talks.
"His speech is very selective in relation to facts – he has highlighted civil servants' contribution rates as they are by far the lowest - the reason for this is because it is compensation for low pay increases over many years. It is a cruel fact that more than half of the women in the NHS scheme retire on a pension of about £3,500-a-year.
"Lord Hutton last week back peddled on the mooted local government scheme changes, as the opt out rates would be so high that members would leave in their droves, jeopardising the future financial viability of the scheme, which would defeat the whole object of the exercise.
"The prime minister's crocodile tears about the difficulties in implementing the massive 28 per cent cuts fool nobody. It was his government that decided these cuts should be front loaded – yet he attempts to divert attention to the pensions' issue when only yesterday the government agreed specific talks on the local government pension scheme, needed because ministers simply do not understand how the scheme was funded.
"Rather than congratulating councils for cutting services, David Cameron should direct his oft vaunted communication skills to ensuring the upcoming pensions talks are constructive and reach a fair settlement.
"The unions have never opposed reforms - but we want to be fully engaged in them, not learning of them via media. We will also never sign up to something that will impoverish people who have done the right thing by saving all their working life for their retirement.
"We still have talks to come. Far better to allow these talks to be conducted in a positive spirit for all parties. Honest dialogue is better than media spin."