Rob Pinkham, executive director of the EO, has criticised Unison's suggestions that a nationwide strike is likely, stating:
'The plain truth is that people are living longer. That is excellent news but it means that the cost of pensions are rising as a consequence. We have a limited range of choices to control that cost.
'Employees can pay a little more, can work a little longer or can receive a little less. Those are the only alternatives and nothing Unison does will alter that. That is the message they should have had the courage to give to their members.'
Changes to the LGPS, which come into effect from April 2005 and which have already been passed by parliament will raise the minimum age of retirement from 50 to 55 and standardise the normal retirement age at 65.
Not all employees will be affected by the changes as a result of protections built into the legislation.
Mr Pinkham said:
'Unison's demands that the changes be delayed for another year will have little effect on the size of their members retirement benefits.
'In making these changes now, we can ensure that action is being taken to stabilise costs and sustain the future affordability of the scheme for authorities and local taxpayers.'