THE NEU National Education Union’s 2021 Annual Conference yesterday debated calls from members working in the independent sector for a national campaign to protect teachers’ pensions in the sector and for collective trade union representation in independent schools.
Commenting on the passing of motion 33 at the National Education Union’s Annual Conference, which is being held virtually, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: ‘The Teachers’ Pension Scheme is a fundamental part of a teacher’s remuneration. It is integral to the profession.
‘We believe that all teachers should have the right to be in the scheme. The NEU will vigorously support our members’ defence of their right to the TPS.
‘The NEU is alarmed that a watershed moment in employee relations within the independent sector has been reached.
‘Employers are resorting to the draconian practice of “fire and rehire” as a default position in an attempt to steam-roller contractual change. The NEU believes that “fire and rehire” has no place in modern Britain.
‘Sadly, on many occasions, NEU members have been left with little option than to strike to protect their contractual rights. Striking is absolutely the last resort. It is not something that our members want to do.
‘However, faced with such a fundamental cut to their remuneration, and often the threat of “fire and rehire”, many are prepared to do so.
‘In the last few weeks, NEU members had a successful outcome to their planned strike at the Mall School, London Borough of Richmond.
‘The employer agreed to halt any discussion on leaving the TPS for the time being, but to review in two years’ time. And our strike at Wycliffe College and prep school in Gloucestershire, has been settled by way of compromise.
‘The latest NEU members to join the fray are at Stonyhurst College, Lancashire, giving notice of six days of strike action in April.
‘Members know that union recognition is the best way to influence the decisions that directly affect their daily working lives. We call upon all our members to look at strengthening their collective voice.
‘Teachers in the independent sector worked tirelessly under extremely difficult circumstances during the Covid lockdown. A swingeing cut to their pension is no way to repay them. We call on employers to pause and consider the big picture.’