Tens of thousands of social workers and care staff in Scotland could lose the right to retire early if changes to pension rights are approved.
Public sector union Unison Scotland warned that a strike would be “inevitable” if Scottish ministers went ahead with plans to remove the Rule of 85 from existing and new local government employees. This has already been proposed in England by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
The Rule of 85 allows existing council staff, and some who have retained their pension after transferring to the private and voluntary sectors, to retire from the age of 60 on an unreduced pension if their age and years of service total 85 or more.
Staff employed by health and education agencies will retain Rule of 85 rights because they are part of a separate pension scheme.
Stephen Smellie, Unison Scotland’s social work convener, said: “One of the things that retains social workers in a demanding job is the ability to retire at 60. If that is taken away from them then the drift away from social work will be exacerbated.”
An executive spokesperson said legal advice suggested the rule was discriminatory.