The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) welcomes the tone and much of the content of the statement made by John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, on the crisis facing members of public sector pension schemes. In recognising that the proposals put forward by the Coalition Government to increase contributions are unfair and unjust, the Cabinet Secretary shows understanding of the damage the proposals will do to ordinary public service workers at a time when public sector pay freezes are already reducing their standard of living by hundreds and in many cases thousands of pounds per year.
By proposing to reduce benefits and increase retirement age the Coalition Government risks persuading thousands of workers to give up on their pension and will place increased pressure on the future welfare state as a consequence.
We recognise that the powers of the Scottish Government are limited but our duty is to ensure that all workers – in private and public sector – are enabled to save for their retirement. We therefore reiterate our support for the action being taken on 30th June by the Public and Commercial Services union and pledge to support other unions in the case that the Coalition Government does not put forward a meaningful compromise which will safeguard pensions.
It is disappointing, if predictable, that the Cabinet Secretary has been unable to offer any financial comfort to our members, nevertheless, there are clearly positive points in this statement and we will be writing to the Cabinet Secretary seeking a meeting as soon as possible to discuss how we can progress these matters.
For further information contact
Ian Tasker 0141 337 8100