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Strike action likely as pension reforms must be implemented

The prospect of strike action over pensions by teachers became more likely this week after the Finance Secretary, John Swinney, said the Scottish Government would have to go ahead with implementing the Westminster Government's pensions reforms.

In his spending review statement to Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Swinney repeated his belief that the UK Government was taking the wrong course of action over public pensions.

But any attempt to make up the shortfall if the changes were not imposed, would cost the Scottish Government pound;102 million a year in its block grant from Westminster - and that would "reduce public sector employment and run contrary to the direction of our employment policy", he said.

"Should the UK Government refuse to change its position, the Scottish Government will have no choice but to apply the increases in employee pension contributions," said Mr Swinney.

Drew Morrice, EIS assistant secretary, said: "We understand where Mr Swinney is, but don't think it helps the unions one bit."

Ann Ballinger, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, said her union's council was meeting on October 1 to decide its response.

"I fully expect a ballot will be held at some point on this," she said.

elizabeth.buie@tes.co.uk.

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