Labour have slammed the Government for announcing in the press its plans for increasing contributions to public sector pension schemes while negotiations with unions are still going on.
Despite the fact the broad parameters of the today’s proposals were flagged up by the Treasury last week, Shadow Treasury chief secretary Angela Eagle says the Government is more interested in provoking confrontation with the unions than engaging in sensible negotiations.
This morning, the Government set the detail of proposals to increase contributions to public sector pensions from April by between 0.6 per cent and 2.4 per cent of pay depending on earnings. Further increases are expected before 2015 though the Treasury says top earners will see the maximum increase which will be capped at 6 per cent of pay.
The Government’s proposals were leaked ahead of their official release to the Daily Telegraph.
Shadow Treasury chief secretary Angela Eagle says: “Making arbitrary announcements through the newspapers in the middle of talks with the trade unions will do nothing to avoid the industrial action nobody wants to see. By one again acting in a rash and irresponsible manner, ministers seem to be more interested in provoking confrontation with public sector workers than sensible negotiation.”
The Government is currently negotiating with unions about wider changes to public sector pensions based on the Hutton Commission’s proposals which could see final salary schemes replaced with career average schemes and see the public sector retirement age brought in line with the state pensions age.
Announcing the proposals this morning, Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander said the proposals were the start of a process.
He said: “We will continue to discuss with unions how to achieve the required savings in the following two years as well as the longer term reforms proposed by Lord Hutton.”