Burnley workers strike in pensions dispute

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PUBLIC sector workers in Burnley walked out as part of the latest national strike in the pensions dispute.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) joined colleagues around the country last week, in industrial action over proposed Government changes to future pension provision.

This month’s strike was more low-key than last October when workers across the public sector, including teachers, walked out.

Burnley College and the high schools were unaffected by last Thursday’s strike.

Mark Attwood, Burnley branch treasurer for the PCS, said: “We have 13 offices in East Lancashire and between 75 to 80% of our members took part in the one-day strike.”

Services affected in Burnley included the Burnley Pension Centre in Simonstone, Burnley JobCentre, and Burnley Benefit Delivery Centre.

PCS regional secretary Peter Middleman said: “Members have overwhelmingly voted to reject the final offer because they realise these changes are unnecessary. All the independent evidence shows that our schemes are sustainable and affordable.

“In light of that, we will not sacrifice a right to dignity in retirement to bail out a Chancellor who, every day, adds to the economic misery of North-West communities.”

Unions are already discussing further industrial action in June and throughout the summer.

Among other things which have angered the unions are the Government’s plans to increase the age for state pensions to 68 and increase employees’ contributions.