Union warns of 'indefinite' strike
Vince Cable has said that there "must be reform" to the pensions system, but admitted that the issue was "complex and difficult". The Business Secretary also said that discussions with "reasonable people" could lead to a resolution of the dispute.
The Assistant General Secretary of Unite earlier said that Danny Alexander "breached a protocol of negotiations" by announcing proposed reforms to public sector pensions yesterday. Gail Cartmail told Sky News this afternoon that Mr Alexander's move showed a "very unhelpful attitude on the part of the Treasury."
The leader of the Unison trade union has threatened a campaign of strikes in protest against the Government's reforms to public sector pensions. Dave Prentis told the Guardian the unions were considering "sustained and indefinite" action. Business Secretary Vince Cable said that coming to an agreement on pensions was a "big, complex and difficult issue".
Mary Bousted, the head of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said that the Government's proposals made public sector pensions 'unattractive and unaffordable'. The ATL has never gone on strike its 100 year history.
Richard Balfe, who was appointed by David Cameron to liaise with the unions, told Radio 4's Today programme that public sector workers were "lucky" the Government had not already decided to bring in direct contribution pensions in line with most of the private sector.