Strike considered by union members

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THOUSANDS of workers look set to strike at the end of next month in a row over pensions.

Trade unions including Unison are considering taking industrial action on November 30.

And it looks likely council staff, teachers and medical workers, will vote for the industrial action.

Unison’s Portsmouth branch leader Lindsay Williams said: ‘So far, reports from local offices say it’s going to be a resounding ‘yes’ vote for the action.

‘This is a vital issue for our members.’

Public sector workers across the UK are considering striking in protest against government plans, which include making people work to a later age and pay more into their pensions.

The government says the public sector costs the state too much money.

But Ms Williams said: ‘Many of our members are low-paid.

‘They have taken pay freezes on the chin.

‘But their pensions are what they work for. It’s not reasonable to make them work longer and pay more for pensions which, in many cases, leave them worse off.’

Unison Hampshire and Isle of Wight is also balloting its members.

Regional manager Steve Brazier said: ‘The plans are not about pensions.

‘They’re a tax on low paid workers.

‘Every penny will go to mop up the bankers’ recession, not into their pension schemes.

‘Strike action is the last resort but eight months of talks have got nowhere. Enough is enough.’

Other unions are set to ballot members, including Unite and TGWU and teachers’ unions.

But Portsmouth City Council leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘I hope the strikes won’t go ahead.

‘We’re close to showing the government local authority pension schemes are well-run, unlike those of central government.

‘We can pay pensions for 20 years with no increase in employee contributions, so our employees shouldn’t have to face big contribution increases.’

He added: ‘But I fear a strike would de-rail those negotiations.’