Unions warn of Greek-style riots in Britain against public sector cuts after court victory over capping of redundancies

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
By Paul Martin

By Becky Barrow

Militant unions today sent a chilling warning of Greek-style strikes and protests after winning a major legal victory for civil servants made redundant.

The warning raises fears of months of chaos triggered by a furious public sector who refuse to accept painful changes to tackle Britain’s financial crisis.

With one in five workers employed by the State, the scale of the crisis could be crippling with unions warning of a ‘tidal wave’ of strike action.

The Public and Commercial Services Union signalled the nightmare facing the future Prime Minister who tries to wield the axe.

The Cabinet Office had been trying to cut a gold-plated redundancy deal for civil servants which it described as ‘out of date and more expensive than almost any other available.’

But a High Court judge ruled today that Labour had acted unlawfully, and that the cost-cutting changes to redundancy payments must be scrapped after failing to get the union’s approval.

The terms of the old redundancy deal was extraordinarily generous, with some long-serving civil servants eligible to get about six years’ pay if they joined before 1987.

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For example, a 46-year-old earning £24,000 who had been a civil servant for 25 years could enjoy a cash payment of about 6.2 years’ salary, or about £150,000.

Under the new deal, the civil servant would still be eligible for a generous deal of £60,000.

By comparison, a private sector worker who earns the same money and has done the job for the same length of time would get just £8,360 under statutory redundancy rules.

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