Pension campaign update
20 Dec 2012
I thought it would be useful to provide members with a short up-date of the discussions on pensions, before the end-of-term, following on from John Swinney’s recent Parliamentary statements.
As you will be aware there are two aspects to the pension discussion: contribution increases and scheme specific negotiations.
On the first of these the Scottish Government has announced that it intends to implement the UK driven imposition of a second increase in teacher pension contributions with effect from April 2013, yielding to the threat of cuts to the Scottish budget if it didn’t comply with the increases (a further increase is planned for April 2014).
In doing so it has rejected the call from the EIS, and other trade unions, to find alternative means with which to challenge the Coalition Government’s unfair additional taxation of the public sector.
As I write the Government is about to issue a public consultation on the proposal through the SSPA website but in reality it has already made the decision to increase contributions.
Alongside expressing our rejection of the need for this increase, which is not linked in any way to the viability of our pension scheme, we did express a view that protecting teachers on the incremental section of the main-grade scale would be worthwhile but it remains to be seen if that is what is proposed in the consultation.
Scottish Government has said that it is opposed to the hike but action speaks louder than words! (Advice will be issued in the new year about responding to the consultation.)
Scheme specific negotiations:
On the second issue of the scheme specific discussion there is some slightly better news in that it has been confirmed that Scottish Government has some leeway to negotiate a settlement here which is different from the scheme about to be imposed in England.
The crucial issue will be whether we can agree a position which will allow teachers to retire at 65, rather than 68 or later, without major detriment to their pension.
The caveat is that this needs to be done within what is referred to as the ‘cost ceiling’ and further discussions are required to ascertain what the scheme would look like in practice and what impact proposed changes would have on different groups of members.
These negotiations will continue early in the new year.
Your Executive Committee and Council will be discussing these matters in January in terms of the next steps for the campaign and further reports will be forthcoming on developments as they happen.
I realise this is not exactly a message full of festive cheer but may I nonetheless wish you all a relaxing and restful holiday; I hope you are able to enjoy sharing some time with family and friends over the next few weeks.