CSP employment relations and union services director Lesley Mercer said: ‘The secretary of state said at the meeting that the government was prepared to talk further on some important issues, such as the accrual rate of any new pension scheme, but not on the crucial issue of retirement age.
‘He also confirmed that the deadline of the end of December for reaching an “in principle” agreement on the overall shape of the new pension scheme remained in place.’
Before the meeting with Mr Lansley, the Department of Health announced a proposal to raise the threshold for protection against pension contribution increases next year to take in most band 5 staff, but at the expense of those working above this level.
‘Working closely with other health unions, the CSP is committed to exploring all options to try to achieve a negotiated settlement to the current dispute.
‘There is no doubt that the government is making this extremely difficult, both in terms of their policy framework and the negotiating timetable.’
Two further negotiating meetings will take place between now and Christmas, Ms Mercer said.