This week a Parliamentary written statement on the proposed Final Agreement on the Teachers’ Pension Scheme was made. Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The NASUWT National Executive has considered the proposed Final Agreement on changes to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme for England and Wales, to be introduced in 2015.
“The NASUWT National Executive has voted unanimously to reject the Government’s proposed Final Agreement.
“The Government’s ideological intransigence, game playing, prevarication, provocative actions at key points in the process and refusal to engage in genuine negotiations are wholly to blame for this decision.
"The Government has wilfully refused, throughout months of discussions, to provide a valuation of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and has failed to provide one shred of evidence to support its view that the pensions of teachers are unaffordable or unsustainable.
“The proposed Final Agreement will be bad for teachers, bad for children and young people and bad for taxpayers.
"It represents a major worsening of the terms and conditions of service of teachers and headteachers.
"As a result of this, and other actions by the Government adversely affecting pay and conditions of service, children and young people will see dedicated and committed teachers leave the profession and recruitment of new teachers could be seriously affected.
"Taxpayers will bear the burden if increased numbers of teachers opt out of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, threatening its financial viability. Over half of teachers have already said they are seriously considering doing so.
“The proposed Final Agreement is potentially unlawful and discriminatory, particularly for part-time and disabled teachers.
"Teachers' pay has been cut. Jobs have been lost. Workload and accountability have soared, while morale and motivation have plummeted. This is a dangerous cocktail.
“The NASUWT will continue its action short of strike action, which has been in place since 30 November following an overwhelmingly successful ballot in furtherance of the Union's trade dispute with the Government over pensions and conditions of service, including pay, jobs and workload.
"The Union will also continue with its legal challenges on the imposed change in pension indexing from the RPI to the CPI and on the failure of the Government to provide a valuation of the Teachers' Pension Scheme.
“The NASUWT will continue to use the legal process to seek to ensure that the concerns of teachers are listened to and respected, as we have already done in ensuring that thorough Equality Impact Assessments are conducted on the Government’s pensions changes.
"The NASUWT Annual Conference at the beginning of April will determine the next phase in the Union's industrial action strategy.”
Notes to editors
The NASUWT lodged a trade dispute with the Government in November 2011 and conducted an overwhelmingly successful national ballot for action short of strike action (91% in favour) and strike action (82% in favour).
The trade dispute relates to pensions, conditions of service, including pay and pay progression, job loss and workload.
The NASUWT began its action on 30 November with a day of strike action to coincide with the TUC Pensions Justice Day of Action and began continuous action short of strike action the next day on 1 December. The action is ongoing.
The NASUWT appeal against the pension-indexing change was heard in the Appeal Court on 20 February and a judgement is imminent.
The Union has lodged a further legal challenge with the Treasury on the failure to conduct a valuation of the Teachers' Pension Scheme.
The NASUWT is the only teachers’ union to have lodged a legal challenge on the failure of the Department for Education (DfE) to conduct an Equality Impact Assessment of its proposed pension changes. This resulted in the Cabinet Office and Treasury determining a more detailed assessment process. The NASUWT is continuing to monitor progress on this to ensure that the commitments given are delivered.
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