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Warning to unions.

Unions representing over a million local government workers were yesterday warned not to lodge an "unrealistic" pay claim during crucial talks later this week.

Employers said resources were "very tight" and pointed out on the eve of the talks that the Government's inflation target was only 2pc. Brian Baldwin, chairman of the employers' side, said the pay negotiations, which open on Thursday, would have to be linked to reform and improvements in council services. Unions will submit their claim on behalf of council staff across England and Wales.

Buckshot killing

AN 83-year-old retired Army officer murdered on his doorstep was shot with ammunition normally used to kill deer, detectives revealed yesterday.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Workman was killed at his home in Furneux Pelham, Hertfordshire, late on January 7, police believe. It emerged yesterday that tests by ballistics experts had shown that the Second World War veteran was hit by buckshot. Police said it was the largest size of shot legally available. It was normally used for shooting deer or other large animals.

Cash doubts

A SENIOR MP has raised doubts over whether taxpayers would get value for money for an extra pounds 61bn being ploughed into public services.

The cash - equivalent to pounds 1,000 for every person in the UK - is aimed at driving up standards in key services such as education, health and transport. But the Government was warned "the jury is still out" on whether taxpayers would see the desired improvements for the record investment. The warning came from Edward Leigh, chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, following a report by the National Audit Office.

Screening call

WOMEN'S health campaigners across Europe have called for new screening measures for cervical cancer which they believe could save thousands of lives every year.

The test for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is linked to cervical cancer is currently on trial in the UK to find out how effective it would be in conjunction with conventional smear tests. Campaigning group European Women for HPV Testing is urging governments to speed up the process so more women could benefit from better screening sooner.

Scanlon dies

VETERAN union leader Lord Scanlon, once famously ordered to take his "tanks off my lawn" by Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, has died at the age of 90. As Hugh Scanlon, he led the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers in the 1970s, becoming well respected for his tough negotiating style.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 28, 2004
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