Leader: ‘Strike is outrageous idea’

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SOUTH Holland District Council leader Gary Porter has issued a stinging rebuke to union bosses who are considering industrial action over changes to local authority workers’ pensions.

Coun Porter spoke out after a national ballot by Unison members came out in favour of a strike for November 30 – a move the district leader branded “outrageous”.

The result could see many district council workers including benefit advisers, bin men and customer service staff walk out at the end of the month in protest at Government plans to change their pensions.

Union leaders say about 75 per cent of its members at the council who took part in the ballot voted in favour of industrial action and we reported last week how members at the council are being asked if they have an “appetite” for a strike or another form of protest, such as working to rule.

Coun Porter said: “It’s outrageous. If they decide they are going to work to rule then I have told them that’s what I am going to do as well.

“I think it’s outrageous in the middle of negotiations to decide to ballot for a strike anyway but people in the private sector can only aspire to have a pension anywhere near as good as what they’ve got.

“People on the lowest wages have been protected and this is just union officials completely out of touch with the world they’re in – they’re still in the 60s.

“They have a right to strike but I think they are extremely barking if they think they have got any local support for striking over pensions.”

The Government has promised to protect final salary pensions for those within ten years of retirement.