Unions hold summit on pensions

Union leaders are holding a summit today with ministers over controversial plans to reform public sector pensions.

Work and Pensions Secretary Alan Johnson is hosting the summit, which comes after intervention from union bosses averted strike action by hundreds of thousands of disgruntled public servants.

Unison, the T&G and Amicus unions had threatened industrial action because of the perceived lack of consultation over plans to increase the retirement age to 65 and to ditch final salary pensions with retirement pay premised on career averages.

Today’s meeting was agreed to ward off that threat.

Ahead of the talks, Peter Allenson, T&G head of public services, said the negotiations would take place in a spirit “with nothing ruled in and nothing ruled out”.

“The one thing that transcends everything is that instead of compulsion it will be negotiations and that is a significant difference for us,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Office minister David Miliband has agreed to new rules underlining the negotiation of public service pay deals.

Skills training, equal pay and pensions will now be assessed in pay deals, along with performance-related pay and flexibility, he said.