Strike: Union warns over retirement poverty

NURSES, paramedics, bin men, street cleaners and council staff will all lose large amounts of money as a result of mooted changes to the pension scheme, according to a local union rep.

UNISON is one of a host of groups whose members will be taking industrial action today and its south coast spokesman believes hundreds of locals could be forced to rethink their retirement plans and stay in work into their late sixties – including those in physically demanding jobs.

Phil Wood, regional secretary of UNISON, said, “We have spoken to thousands of members over the past months.

“They are furious, frustrated, and frightened at government ministers’ plans to take money out of public service pensions schemes, threatening their viability and sending thousands into poverty when they retire.

“The majority of our members are women and of course they don’t want to take strike action, but the threats to their pensions are the final straw.

“Having worked for years on low pay in return for a dignified retirement, they will now be forced onto benefits when they retire- at a cost to the taxpayer.”

UNISON members will be manning picket lines across Eastbourne today, including demonstrations outside council offices and and the headquarters of East Sussex Fire and Rescue.