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Union calls for Government to get proactive on pensions

The EIS teaching union has called on the Scottish Government to take a more proactive role in the pensions dispute.

The Holyrood Government had repeatedly criticised the Westminster coalition's proposals without outlining plans of its own, said general secretary Ronnie Smith.

He said the Scottish Government did have some control over teachers' pensions in Scotland - and therefore should act more like a party of government than a party of opposition.

Mr Smith contrasted the situation in Scotland with "significant discussions" between the Westminster government and the general secretaries of English and Welsh unions on potential changes to pensions south of the border.

"We are concerned at the complete failure of the Scottish Government so far to engage with unions in Scotland in similar talks regarding the Scottish Teachers' Superannuation Scheme," he said.

"While we understand that the UK Treasury will have a significant say in what is decided for Scotland's teachers and lecturers, it is time for the Scottish Government to clarify its intentions for the STSS rather than continuing the deafening silence that has been the order of the day."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "It is still unclear what the UK Government's plans are and how they could apply to Scotland, and we will assess any potential impact on Scottish pension schemes when we have more detail.

"We will also consider long-term pension reforms in partnership with trade unions and employers, once we have greater clarity on the UK Government's continually developing plans."

The Westminster Government this week appeared to have staved off the prospect of another UK-wide strike, although a tentative deal was rejected by England's largest teaching unions, the NUT and NASUWT. Later in the week, some other unions removed their support, after Communities Secretary Eric Pickles suggested there would be a cap on employers' contributions.

henry.hepburn@tess.co.uk.

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