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AWE staff in 24 hour strike over pension changes

Workers have been carrying out industrial action over pension changes

Up to 600 workers at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Berkshire are on strike today in a continuing dispute over changes to their pensions.

Members of the Unite union from the sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield will join colleagues from across the country protesting at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall. They say they stand to lose thousands of pounds in retirement income.

The firm's defined benefit pension scheme was closed on 31 January 2017.

"Our committed members feel betrayed and badly let down by what has happened to their pensions and they don't deserve to lose thousands of pounds when they retire.

"There is a solution that could resolve this dispute and that is to allow the AWE workforce to join the principal civil service pension scheme.

"Our members want to have a constructive dialogue with Michael Fallon, but they have met with a brick wall which is insulting to such a dedicated workforce delivering the government's flagship Trident nuclear programme.

"So on Tuesday, our members will be knocking on the proverbial front door at the MoD as they seek to secure a decent retirement income that they were promised by a Tory government a quarter of a century ago."

– Jennie Formby, Unite regional secretary for the south east

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Extra funding needed to help pay for adult social care

West Berkshire Councillors will be asked to approve a 3% council tax rise Credit: ITV news

West Berkshire council could be increasing council tax by 3% to help fund the demand in adult social care.

A full council meeting, on Thursday 2 March will determine if the rates will rise over 2017/2018.

The council already spends around £38m on social care. However, with the number of residents aged over 65 growing by 3% annually this means that the number of people qualifying for support from the council increases as well.

Social care might be needed at any time in your life and we all want to be sure that help will be there if we need it. This is an important area and we need to fund it properly if we are to continue providing help to those who need it most.

– Councillor Rick Jones

As well as applying an adult social care precept to the council tax bill, council tax itself will also increase by 1.99% as part of a budget which requires the council to save £8.9m next year.

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