Opinion Former Article

NUT comment on Queen's Speech

Commenting on the legislative programme announced today, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Reform to the state pension will see people having to work until they are 68 and beyond. It is an unacceptable move and will give the UK one of the highest state pension ages in Europe. Very few of us will enjoy the good health to continue to work until this age and it will keep many young people out of the job market.

“Public sector pensions are affordable. The Government has brought forward no evidence that the Teachers’ Pension Scheme is unaffordable and consistently refuses to carry out the long-overdue 2008 valuation of the scheme. Even the Hutton Report accepted that the cost of public sector pensions will fall from 1.9% of GDP in 2012 to 1.4% by 2060. Teachers cannot be expected to work into their 70s.

“The current SEN Code of Practice enshrines entitlements for children and young people and should not be revoked. There has been no call for its withdrawal or revision from any quarter. It is not ‘red tape’ but a carefully constructed assessment system ensuring that resources are allocated equitably to meet need.

“Employment tribunals are intended to be an accessible forum through which workers can seek redress for unlawful acts of their employers. These proposals undermine the nature of employment tribunals, as decisions will be made by judges alone, without the benefit of the up to date experience of those who have an understanding of the realities of life in the modern workplace. A system of fees for tribunal claims will discourage workers from seeking proper redress for breach of their legal rights, especially when many compensation awards are already low and far from a recompense for the loss of livelihood.

“If the Government was really interested in furthering economic growth it would invest in our public services not cut them. These measures represent a false economy which have driven us into a second recession and must be reversed.”

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