Teachers’ pensions hit again

Teachers union leaders with the front banner on the huge London march during last November’s pensions strike
Teachers union leaders with the front banner on the huge London march during last November’s pensions strike

‘THIS is just the latest blow to hard-working teachers and other public sector employees already reeling from a raft of changes to their pensions,’ said NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates yesterday.

She was responding to news that teachers and other public sector workers in defined benefit pension schemes could have to pay an extra 1.4 per cent into their pensions on top of the increased costs they are already facing as a result of government plans to end contracting out.

Keates continued: ‘Teachers are already paying higher monthly pension contributions at a time when their pay is being frozen and the cost of living is increasing.

‘The news that they are to be hit with an additional increase on top of these changes could be the final straw for many in the profession who are struggling to make ends meet.

‘The risk is that many teachers will opt out of the scheme, placing its sustainability in jeopardy.

‘A NASUWT survey of members earlier this year found that over half of teachers are seriously considering opting out, rising to nearly three quarters of young teachers.

‘The Treasury made a commitment not to change public sector pension benefits for 25 years and yet it is already reneging on this promise.

‘With this latest news, the extent of the betrayal of the teaching profession by those who signed up to the coalition’s proposals is even starker.

‘The NASUWT will continue its industrial action campaign against these unjust changes to teachers’ pay, pensions and working conditions.’

The NASUWT has been engaged in continuous industrial action since 30 November 2011 over attacks on teachers’ pay, pensions and working conditions, excessive workload and job loss.

The union has lodged a trade dispute with the government over workload, conditions of service, pensions and jobs.

Meanwhile, the Association of Teachers & Lecturers (ATL) has joined Unison in condemning devastating cuts in Further Education funding (see Page 8).

ATL education policy advisor Jill Stokoe said yesterday: ‘This Unison survey has revealed the shocking impact that government funding cuts are having on learners and staff, demonstrating how further education (FE) has been affected through reductions in admissions, course closures and redundancies.

‘The abolition of the education maintenance allowance (EMA) was another instance of the coalition government making it harder for less advantaged young people to succeed and has done nothing to help the one million plus 16–24 year olds currently out of work.

‘Now the impact of this damaging policy is evident. The proposals to introduce loans for students aged over 24 mean that 100,000 young adults will be denied further training.

‘Thousands of skilled FE lecturers and support staff have lost their jobs at a time when provision should be expanding, not contracting. These cuts to FE provision will hugely disadvantage a generation of learners and impact directly on the economy.’