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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 April 2006, 13:13 GMT 14:13 UK
Move to suspend council strikes
Strikers in Liverpool
Union members are angry about planned pension changes
Council workers' union leaders have called for the suspension of strikes in their dispute over pension rights.

The unions representing local authority workers said, in a joint statement, that they had agreed a framework for negotiations with employers.

More than one million staff walked out last month in a one-day strike against plans to scrap rules letting council staff retire at 60 on a full pension.

More strikes had been due to take place between 25 and 27 April.

'Urgent' talks

Talks will now centre on protecting existing workers who want to retire early with no loss of pension benefits.

The decision to recommend suspension of the action follows informal talks between the two sides. The individual unions will now hold the necessary internal consultations.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said he expected the detailed negotiations on the new framework to start "urgently".

"I am very pleased that it has now been possible to agree with the Local Government Employers a sensible framework for the detailed negotiations necessary on the future of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS)," he said.

"These negotiations now offer a positive route forward to secure fairness and high quality pensions for all workers covered by the LGPS in the future."

Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, chairman of employers' organisation, the Local Government Association said: "It will come as a relief to employees, employers and local people that this industrial action has been suspended.

"The Local Government Association will be working hard in meaningful discussions with the unions to come up with a long term reform of the Local Government Pension Scheme that is fair to employees, continues to make local government an attractive place to work in and is affordable for council taxpayers."


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