By Marcus Leach

Talks between ministers and trade unions have failed to prevent ballots for mass strike action over pensions.

Various unions will hold votes on what they are calling a 'day of action' on November 30th as means of protest against plans to increase pension contributions by public sector workers.

According to the unions the changes are unfair and financially unnecessary. However, ministers say that pension contributions must be increased to make schemes sustainable.

"Unions will continue to step up their efforts with the ballots of their members and planning of industrial action," TUC general secretary Brendan Barber told the BBC.

"But we remain absolutely committed to this process, to try to see if it's possible to reach a negotiated settlement without the need for that industrial action."

Unison, Unite, the Fire Brigades' Union, Prospect and the GMB are amongst those unions who, at the TUC's annual conference last week, announced that they were preparing to ballot for industrial action or to register trade disputes with the government.

"We are totally committed to genuine engagement with the unions. We have a lot to talk about and there are proposals on the table for discussion," a Cabinet Office spokesman said.

"It is extremely disappointing that the TUC is calling on union members to lose a day's pay and go on strike while serious talks are still ongoing."

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