Union says responses to poll will influence next week’s NEC decision

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ATL members are being asked their views on the government’s current pensions offer.

The union is carrying out an opinion poll of all its members who are eligible to be members of the Teachers Pension Scheme (TPS) in England and Wales, of the Northern Ireland Teachers’ Superannuation Scheme (NITSS), and of the Scottish Teachers’ Superannuation Scheme (STSS) between 16 and 25 January. The result of the poll will influence the decision of ATL’s governing executive committee which meets on 28 January.

ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: “As a democratic and member-led union we believe members should be asked what they think of the offer for teachers’ pensions.  It is only right and proper that members should get their say on this key issue which will affect all their futures and that of the whole teaching profession.

“The negotiations were incredibly tough.  It took nine months and a strike to get the government to start negotiating properly, and another strike to force concessions.  In the final days of negotiations before Christmas the Treasury withdrew parts of their proposals twice.  And it was not until December 19th that the government finally agreed to allow current and future teachers working in independent schools to continue to be in the same scheme as those in state-funded schools.

“The government was quite clear that the offer it made on December 19th was a final offer, that it will not negotiate further on any of the main features of the pension scheme, and that any further industrial action would not improve the current offer.

“In the current economic and political climate we believe that the December 19th offer is the best deal we could get through negotiation.  Further prolonged industrial action, which is the only alternative, could lead to the government imposing significantly worse terms than are currently offered.

“I’m proud of what ATL members have achieved as a result of the union’s first strike in its 127-year history, lobbying and writing to their MPs in person, signing petitions, attending rallies and marches, talking to parents and governors, together with our intense and hard-fought negotiations.  It is only by taking all these actions that we forced this intransigent government to make any concessions.”


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