Binmen may strike over pensions

BINMEN in Huntingdonshire could strike next month unless the Government backs down on changes to national pension arrangements. Council workers and other public sector employees across the country are currently voting in a ballot for strike action on chan

BINMEN in Huntingdonshire could strike next month unless the Government backs down on changes to national pension arrangements.

Council workers and other public sector employees across the country are currently voting in a ballot for strike action on changes to the "Rule of 85".

The Government believes the rule will become unlawful when changes to the law affecting age discrimination come into force in October.

Phil Duerden, head of personnel services at Huntingdonshire District Council, believes the union Unison is likely to win its strike vote. The Government's track record, in the face of previous ballots, has been to throw in the towel.


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Although only about 130 of the district council's 1,000 employees belong to the trade union, membership at the Godmanchester depot from which the refuse and recycling service operates is up to 30 per cent. Services could, therefore, be affected if a strike went ahead.

Unison's general secretary Dave Prentis accuses the Government and the employers' umbrella body, the Local Government Association, of wanting to "tear up members' pension contracts".

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He says proposed changes would add £2billion-a-year to the national bill for welfare benefits by reducing the pensions of retired public sector workers.

INFORMATION: The Rule of 85 means that employees whose age in years and length of membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme add up to 85 years or more, and are at least 60, can retire on full pension when they choose. Before age 60, the employer has the discretion to allow them to leave.

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