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Page last updated at 08:14 GMT, Saturday, 18 June 2011 09:14 UK

Barber: 'It takes two to tango' over pension dispute

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The head of Britain's largest public sector union has warned that the government's pension reform plans could trigger the biggest wave of industrial action since the General Strike in the 1920s.

Dave Prentis from Unison says unions are prepared for sustained and indefinite strikes over proposals to increase workers' contributions to pensions and raise the retirement age to 66.

The General Secretary of the TUC, Brendan Barber, told Today presenter John Humphrys that Mr Prentis was "reflecting the real anger that's there right across the whole trade union movement and particularly public service workers faced by this pretty crude attack on their pensions".

And he added that the prospect of major strikes was completely avoidable if the government negotiated fairly.

"I want a settlement. I don't want to see more disputes," he explained. "I'd prefer to see this settled by negotiation. But it takes two to tango, as they say. You know the government needs to really come to the table in a fair-minded way rather than making pronouncements off the cuff as they appeared to be doing yesterday."


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