ASCL: Public sector could strike again

Brian Lightman, Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) general secretary, warns that today's disruption could be repeated:

"ASCL has already stressed in its letter to the prime minister the damaging impact this dispute is starting to have on the implementation of the coalition's education policies. If the government is serious about creating a 'high status profession' it needs to attract and retain the highest quality teachers and school and college leaders.

"ASCL is consulting its members this week and based on the response and the outcome of negotiations, it will decide what action to take in the autumn, up to and including balloting for strike action. This would be a last resort and therefore we urge ministers to redouble their efforts to find a resolution in order to avoid the chaotic impact that a prolonged dispute will undoubtedly have.

"The Treasury has made two critical decisions related to public sector pensions without any consultation whatsoever. It has changed the inflation calculator from RPI to CPI which will each year further reduce the value of the pension earned by retired members. It has also determined to make an increase of over three per cent in the contribution rate over the next three years to reduce the current national deficit, in a move completely unrelated to the cost of the pension scheme. Given this unfair treatment it easy to understand why public sector workers are so angry with the government.

"The previous valuation of the Teachers Pension Scheme indicated that it was self-sufficient and not being underwritten by taxpayers. Therefore teachers are, very understandably, asking that any changes to the scheme be made after the scheme is reassessed. This is something that the government has promised to do but not delivered."