NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates says negotiation process on pensions “has been a debacle”


NASUWT members have said the government’s “scandalous” Heads of Agreement document is set to “wreak a massive injustice to teachers”

The union, along with fellow teachers’ unions NUT, UCAC and UCU, refused to sign the agreement, saying it remains deeply concerned about the unacceptable nature of the process and the arbitrary timescales being imposed by the Treasury for completing vital and complex work which will have a profound impact on the teaching profession.

General secretary Chris Keates told UnionNews: “We think the process of drawing up the Heads of Agreement can only be described as a debacle.

“There are lots of basic equality issues, such as the impact on different groups of teachers, that haven’t been considered by the government.

“So we have decided to continue to press the government on contribution rates, on what rates of contribution employers will be paying – because we think the government is trying to depress those contributions to make employees pay more – and we’ll still be pressing on the normal pension age and the proposed increase, which we think is unacceptable from a teacher’s point of view.”

There are calls within some of the education unions, such as UCU, for a second day of strike action against the government’s plans. Asked whether NASUWT was considering further industrial action, Chris Keates said the current action short of a strike over pay and pensions would continue. The union is currently conducting an opinion survey among members, which she says “will inform the next stage of our strategy” on pensions.

Chris Keates said: “These changes are part of the government’s privatisation scheme to make education more attractive to predatory business interests. On Friday, under the guise of performance league tables, ministers published the financial position of every school in country. This was not to give choice to parents but to provide a menu from which businesses can choose easy takeover targets out of which they can make a quick profit.”

Watch our interview with Chris Keates here:

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