More strikes forecast

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The Government is facing the threat of renewed industrial action over its controversial pension reforms after unions representing hundreds of thousands of NHS workers, civil servants, firefighters and teachers raised the prospect of further widespread strikes.

Leaders of more than 700,000 public sector workers made it clear they were not prepared to agree to planned higher contributions, lower pensions and longer retirement ages.

The executive of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), which was not involved in last November’s day of action by some two million workers, yesterday recommended a “rapid move” to prepare for a strike ballot among its 45,000 members after describing the Government’s proposals, following lengthy talks, as “unacceptable”.