From the TUC

Shock: Government offer to back “tea break strikes”

12 Nov 2011, By

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, who is supposed to be leading for the Government on the pensions negotiations, dropped a bombshell this morning by telling the Financial Times that he could support the industrial action planned for 30 November, and thought strikers shouldn’t have to lose their wages … as long as the planned industrial action was scaled back to a 15 minute tea break! (Alright, he didn’t mention the tea.)

He floated the idea of a ‘token’ stoppage as an alternative to the day of action which has already been voted for by hundreds of thousands of public sector workers, but, as TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber noted, he completely forgot to mention it to the people he’s supposed to be negotiating with! He may not even have remembered to tell the employers who would ultimately be responsible for not docking pay. Brendan commented:

“If Francis Maude had genuinely wanted this idea to be taken seriously I would have expected him to have raised it directly with the TUC and unions rather than play it as a PR gambit in a press interview. The way to resolve this dispute and avoid industrial action is to make real progress and acceptable offers in the negotiations. Francis Maude seems to want to divert attention away from the government’s failure to make proper offers in scheme negotiations. Ministers had better make their mind up whether they intend to negotiate genuinely in good faith or through the megaphone of media stunts.”