Labour fails in bid to block pensions debate on day of national strikes

LABOUR last night voted against plans for MSPs to take part in a debate on public sector pensions on the national day of strikes that will see millions of workers involved in industrial action on St Andrew’s Day.

But the bid by Labour and Patrick Harvie of the Green Party to stop MSPs taking part in the session at Holyrood on 30 November was defeated by the SNP when they voted on the issue.

Labour has already said MSPs will stay in their constituencies on St Andrew’s Day to show their support for the three million public sector workers expected to go on strike.

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MSPs backed the SNP proposal by 83 votes to 36, with one abstention.

Defending the decision last night, the SNP’s parliamentary business secretary Bruce Crawford said the UK government plan to increase employee contributions is a “naked cash grab” to reduce the deficit.

The proposed strike on 30 November escalated yesterday when more workers voted in favour of taking industrial action. The GMB union, and Ucatt, which represents building workers, said their members had overwhelmingly backed industrial action. The GMB said its members working in local government, the NHS and the civil service across the UK voted by more than four to one in favour of strike action on a turnout of 33 per cent. Ucatt said its members had voted by more than four to one in favour, on a turnout of 27 per cent.