Notice of legal action is further blow to ministers’ hopes of an end to the long-running dispute

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NASUWT is to issue a legal challenge to Coalition ministers over plans for pension reforms.

The formal letter to Education Secretary, Michael Gove, the Treasury and government actuaries is the first stage of a process towards a judicial review of the proposed cuts.

The NASUWT argues the Government should have embarked on a valuation of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme to establish whether there was a problem with its viability and sustainability, before making changes.

The move comes just days before the Treasury’s planned deadline of 20th February for talks on pension changes under its Heads of Agreement document to be completed.

However, talks with the main public sector unions remain uncompleted and a number of unions – including Unite, FBU and UCU – are to ballot members on the issue, warning that further industrial action is “likely”.

In a statement, the GMB executive yesterday said ‘there is a lot more work to do to bring these negotiations to a conclusion’.

NASUWT contends the Government had a statutory responsibility to conduct a valuation of the scheme.

The last valuation was conducted in 2006 and the union said regulations required a further valuation in a period not exceeding five years.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates (pictured) said: “The Government has ignored our repeated requests to produce a valuation of the scheme.

“It is simply unacceptable and irresponsible for a Government to embark on changes which will have such a profound adverse impact on the financial future of teachers and their families without having evidence to demonstrate that a problem even exists.

“Not only is the Government failing to meet its obligations to teachers, it is failing in its duty to act in the interests of the public. It is however probably safe to assume that if a valuation would have provided evidence to support the Government’s changes it would have produced it.

“The failure to provide the valuation has deeply angered teachers. The NASUWT has pledged to leave no stone unturned to defend teachers and their conditions of service and if this means recourse to legal remedy the union will pursue such action.”

Watch an interview with Chris Keates on pensions here:

The NASUWT was one of a number of unions which lost a legal challenge to the Government’s changes to the indexing of pensions.

Their appeal is due to be heard next week.


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