Commenting on correspondence received on 7 January 2011 from the Department for Education on increasing teachers' pension contribution rates from 6.4% to up to 9.8% by 2014, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers' union, said:
"This represents a massive pay cut for teachers of up to £100 per month.
"This is in addition to the pay cut they are already suffering as a result of the public sector pay freeze, the rise in VAT and high inflation.
"Teachers will be deeply aggrieved about the Coalition Government continuing to wage war on their pensions, when changes had already been agreed with the previous Government, which, according to the Treasury itself, made the scheme affordable and viable in the longer term.
"The Coalition Government's proposed changes represent an almost 50% increase on the current rate of individual teachers' contributions.
"This is a further assault on teachers' pensions, following the Coalition's imposed change in index linking of public sector pensions to Consumer Price Index instead of Retail Price Index, a change which reneged on the pre and post election promises to protect accrued pension rights
"This change alone means that on the modest teachers' pension, which averages around £10,000 per annum , an individual stands to lose £50,000 of their pension over a twenty years.
"Why should teachers face these punitive pay cuts when the bankers, who caused the crisis in the first place, are set to receive lottery-level bonuses?
"This move by the Coalition Government is yet another blow to hard working, dedicated teachers up and down the country, who are already reeling from the Coalition Government's relentless campaign of savage cuts and reform."
Notes to editors
The NASUWT evidence to the Hutton Review on public sector pensions can be found on nasuwt.org.uk/championingpublicsectorpensions
A copy of the letter from the DfE is attached
The NASUWT is currently conduction an opinion survey of its members across the UK on the Coalition Government's imposed pay freeze and changes to pensions.
NASUWT Press Office
Tel: 020 7420 9681
Mobile (and out of hours contact): 07966 198894
Address: 5 King Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8SD