"MINISTERS are preparing to back down on public sector pension reform in the face of the threat of a new wave of strike action by local authority staff.There is the possibility that this story is a wee bit premature but it seems highly likely that the Executive will be forced to back down for two reasons:
The Scottish Executive had previously insisted there could be no movement on plans to raise the age at which hundreds of thousands of public sector workers could retire without any financial penalty, from 60 to 65.
But just a day after 200,000 local government workers took nationwide industrial action over the issue, Tom McCabe, the finance minister, has signalled a change of heart.
Mr McCabe revealed that he was considering seeking an exemption from the European law which ministers claim has forced them to end the so-called "Rule of 85" retirement provision."
1) The strength of the strike and the prospect of a further programme of more focused industrial action.
2) The fact that the Executive doesn't have the proverbial leg to stand on. Whatever you think of the issues surrounding public sector employment, retiral ages and pensions - the council workers have been treated blatantly unfairly. Despite the fact that I work for the council, the rule doesn't apply to me (not that I'm planning to hang around that long, you understand) but the Executive wants to impose it on the dinner-school ladies, claiming their hands are tied by Europe. Pah!
And it was noticeable that our friends in the CBI didn't complain about Brussels' interference on this occasion.
Sir Digby 'I haven't missed too many meals lately' Jones: "Does my mullet look big in this?"