Pension talks could be held next week
Ed Miliband has refused to condemn tomorrow's strikes on public sector pensions, arguing the Government had been "spoiling for a fight" with the unions.
His comments came as Number 10 warned strikers not to intimidate workers. Speaking on Daybreak this morning, the Labour leader said: "I'm not going to condemn the strike... They are imposing a 3% tax rise on some of the lowest paid in the country. The disruption is terrible but I'm not going to condemn those who've taken this decision."
Mr Miliband had said yesterday that he did not support strikes because "they are always a sign to failure".
A Downing Street spokesman said this morning: "We have to support people’s right to work and they should be allowed to come in and do a day’s work if that what they want to do." The spokesman also claimed that the action tomorrow would "achieve nothing".
In the wake of tomorrow's strikes, union leaders and ministers will look to hold "intensive negotiations" with view of agreeing a deal on pension reform before Christmas. According to The Independent, a meeting between Francis Maude, Brendan Barber and Danny Alexander could be held as early as next week.
The Government has confirmed that border controls will not be relaxed to ease congestion at airports as immigration officials join the public sector strikes. Home Office Minister Lord Henley said that security remained "our top priority" and insisted that contingency plans were in place. The FT reports that health workers may join the campaign on public sector strikes in the new year.