Teaching unions say pensions rise is unjustified attack on teachers

Tim Lezard

Pile of cashA national teachers’ strike is inevitable unless the government ceases its attacks on the profession, the NUT has warned.

Reacting to yesterday’s announcement that teachers will have to pay an extra £59 a month (£708 a year) into their pension scheme, NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “This increase isn’t justified – it is just a further cut in teachers’ wages and is intended to achieve savings for the government as part of its public spending cuts. It is simply a tax on teachers made to pay for a recession we did not cause.

“The NUT will continue to campaign against attacks on the pay and pensions of our members. Unless these attacks cease, strike action is inevitable.”

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “This increase comes on top of the unjustified contributions increase introduced in 2012, and at the same time as the continuing freeze on teachers’ pay and the constant attacks and denigration of the teaching profession.

“As a result of the agreement by the Department of Education (DfE) and those representing a minority of the teaching profession, teachers are now facing the prospect of having to pay more and work considerably longer for a pension that will be worth substantially less.

“The contributions increase is an unjustifiable tax on teachers.

“The Coalition government has refused to undertake the actuarial valuation that would provide objective evidence about whether or not it is necessary for pension contributions to increase.

“The worsening of teachers’ pensions will result in many dedicated and committed teachers leaving the profession and make it even more difficult to recruit new teachers.

“A recent NASUWT survey of over 16,000 teachers found that 79% of teachers will not be able to afford the government’s planned increases to pension contributions.

“There is not one shred of evidence to show that teachers’ pensions are unaffordable or unsustainable.

“At a time of austerity, the Coalition government is taking a reckless gamble which will leave taxpayers bearing an increased financial burden if more teachers opt out of the pension scheme.

“The NASUWT and its members will continue the campaign of opposition to these disgraceful attacks on the profession.”

ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said: “We are deeply disappointed that the government has decided to continue its plans to increase the amount teachers’ pay into their pensions, despite any evidence that this is justified.

“Contribution rates were never any part of pension negotiations with the government, which has unilaterally imposed a further increase despite our opposition.

“We are increasingly concerned that many teachers will be unable to afford this increase, particularly during the current pay freeze.”

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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