Detailed discussions between the Department for Education (DfE) and unions representing teachers and headteachers in England and Wales reached their conclusion yesterday with a number of unions refusing to sign up to a heads of agreement document outlining the priorities for reform to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS).
Commenting on the statement by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander today, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The NASUWT has engaged in good faith in the discussions with the DfE on the future of the TPS.
“However, despite our best endeavours, the DfE has been unable to provide key documentation requested by negotiators and which is central to securing a proper resolution.
“The Coalition Government has still not provided any information on the need for reform to the TPS and today’s statement confirms that teachers will be expected to pay more, receive less and work longer for their pensions.
“All of the available evidence confirms that the TPS is fair, affordable and sustainable.
“The NASUWT remains committed to a negotiated settlement on pensions, but it is important that any agreements are based upon sound evidence and that decisions are made in light of critical information being made available. That has not been the case in these discussions.
“We were also concerned that the DfE refused to table its first offer until Thursday 15 December. Within hours, the coalition government withdrew the offer and a further proposal did not emerge until late on Monday 19 December.
“Teachers would expect their negotiators to insist on a detailed examination of the implications of the DfE’s proposals and to exercise due diligence. In the timescale imposed by the government, this simply was not possible.
“The NASUWT has not signed the DfE heads of agreement document and has reserved its position insisting on the need for further information to be provided, including on the equalities impact of the government’s proposed reforms to the pension scheme.
“The NASUWT has and will continue to press for further information on how the proposed changes to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme will impact on members.
“The NASUWT’s National Executive will consider the implications arising from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury’s statement when it meets in January.”