Britain's largest teaching union today voted almost unanimously to ballot for strike action over attacks on their members' pensions. Below is the NUT's press release.
'Commenting on the passing of the NUT’s priority motion on pensions, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said;
“NUT conference today sent a clear message to Government that teachers will not stand by as their pensions are eroded. The NUT will ballot members for strike action in the summer term.
“The support for this motion, together with the similar motion passed by ATL conference, demonstrates the strength of feeling across the profession against the Government's plans.
“The Government threatens teachers and all public sector workers with having to pay more for their pensions, work longer and get less in retirement. Today, NUT conference agreed to reaffirm the NUT's determination to defend public sector pensions and, in particular, to hold the Government to agreements made in 2006. Those led to changes which have made our pensions affordable for the long term - the National Audit Office has confirmed that costs are falling as planned - and put a mechanism in place for determining future changes which the Government now wants to abandon.
“The NUT is fully involved in talks with the Government. We will continue to negotiate with the Government, but we are balloting for strike action to help us get a fair deal for teachers.
“The Government is not taking these talks seriously. They haven’t carried out the valuation - required by law - which would demonstrate the actual costs of our pensions. They have implemented a change from RPI to CPI indexation with no negotiation and this will cost existing and future pensioners many thousands of pounds.
“Government plans to finalise pension increases by June this year. The 3% increase for teachers is not about funding the scheme, it’s a tax to help pay down the deficit and represents a significant pay cut for teachers.
“There is still time for the Government to enter serious negotiations and avoid strike action. We've paid for our pensions and we deserve them. Now is the time to defend them.”
Alex Snowdon is a Counterfire activist in Newcastle. He is active in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition and the National Education Union.
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