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Union boss's private talks with ministers to avert mass strikes

Publié par Clifford Armion le 10/06/2011

Andrew Grice

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, held private talks in Manchester this week with four senior ministers - including the Chancellor, George Osborne - in an attempt to avert next month's planned one-day strike, the biggest for a generation. Behind the scenes, Mr Osborne is coming under pressure from ministers to show more flexibility over cutting the bill for public-sector pensions.

Mr Barber met the ministers, who included the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, and the Tory Cabinet Office ministers Francis Maude and Oliver Letwin, for informal talks in the margins of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester - in a move that could open the door to a deal. He is understood to have told them that, to resolve the dispute, they need to reassure the unions they are not trying to dismantle their pension schemes.

Mr Osborne has insisted that the reforms must go ahead to save £2.8bn a year by 2014-15 as part of his deficit-reduction strategy. But ministers, among them Mr Maude and Mr Letwin, believe the Treasury's hard line is reducing the prospects of successful negotiations between the Government and trade unions.

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"Union boss's private talks with ministers to avert mass strikes", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), juin 2011. Consulté le 07/03/2021. URL: http://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/archives/archives-revue-de-presse/union-boss-s-private-talks-with-ministers-to-avert-mass-strikes