Chancellor Alistair Darling has announced that nurses and other public sector staff will have state contributions to their pensions capped in order to save the government £1bn a year.
In his pre-Budget report, Mr Darling said NHS and other public sector staff would have to make a greater contribution themselves to their pensions, especially those in the highest pay bands.
He said: “By 2012 contributions by the state to public service pensions for teachers, local government, NHS and the civil service will be capped.
“Public sector workers will make a greater contribution to the increasing value of pensions, with those earning over £100,000 paying more.”
Mr Darling said the move was one of “difficult but essential choices” needed to help the country recover from recession and protect frontline public services.
A spokesperson on pensions for the Unison said the union would be asking the Treasury for more detail on the announcement in order to find out what the cap would mean for different bands of nurse.
In a statement Unison general secretary Dave Prentis called the proposed introduction of the cap a “betrayal”.
He said: “It is just not on to make nurses, social workers, dinner ladies, cleaners and hospital porters pay the price for the folly of the bankers.
“Capping pension contributions will reduce the already small public sector pensions even further,” he said.