Unite threatens new NHS pension strike ballot

Protesters in London
Image caption Many public servants struck in November against plans to pay more and work longer for their pensions

The Unite trade union says it may hold a fresh strike ballot of its 100,000 members in the NHS over their continuing pension dispute.

The union's leadership has already rejected a draft agreement proposed by the government in December.

In November, staff throughout the public sector staged a national one-day strike against the proposed changes.

Since then, union opposition has become divided, with some agreeing to further talks which others have rejected.

Meanwhile, leaders of the Fire Brigades Union are also threatening to strike over proposed changes to their pension scheme.

They said there would be a "rapid move" towards a strike ballot after finding the government's proposals "unacceptable".

Unite's general secretary, Len McCluskey said: "There have been no substantive changes from what was on the table before Christmas - our hard-working members will still be expected to pay more, work longer and get less when they retire."

"'Our members are deeply unhappy at the government's stance and we will be holding a consultative ballot to reaffirm our members' position - the prospect of further strike action will be very real, unless ministers move on their hardline position."

Unite said it wanted meaningful negotiations before the government's own deadline of 20 February.