Unions hit back at government ministers

by - 27th November 2011, 9.07 GMT

Unions have hit back at comments by government ministers over Wednesday’s strikes.

Responding to the latest comments by ministers Francis Maude and Danny Alexander, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The latest threats about further curbs on strike laws and offers being withdrawn follow ridiculous claims earlier this week that the strike could cost £500 million and put jobs at risk.

“This just shows how little grip they have on the detailed and very serious issues at stake for millions of public sector workers, and calls into question their competence and suitability for these negotiations.

“The Cabinet Office minister talks about a ‘perverse incentive to strike’, but what is perverse is that ministers are planning to raid public sector pensions to pay for a deficit caused by the greed and recklessness of wealthy bankers.

“Such erratic behaviour and wild allegations are becoming increasingly frequent from ministers who claim negotiations are ongoing even though they say they’ve made their final offer.”

And commenting on the government statement that the pensions ‘offer’ would be withdrawn if strike goes ahead on Nov 30th, the GMB’s Brian Strutton said: “If government wants the strike called off it would be better if they sat down and talked to us instead of making threats through the media. Only a last minute breakthrough in negotiations can stop the strike but that isn’t going to happen if we are not even meeting. I think the public can work out that increasingly wild government statements to the media while refusing to talk to us face-to-face tells its own story.”

* UnionNews will be reporting live from Sheffield on Wednesday and will be running a live blog with reports from picket lines and rallies right across the UK. Follow our Twitter feed @UnionNewsUK or tell us your stories on the day by emailing news@union-news.co.uk.

For our coverage so far, click here