The press release below was the National NUT's response to the rubbish spouted by Danny Alexander today as he attempted desperately to cut across the growing momentum for strike action to defend pensions - and to defeat the whole of the Government's cuts package.
His attempts to argue that these cuts are economically necessary are answered by the ruinous state of Greece. Cuts may please the speculators but they do nothing to help growth - they just cut the market further and invite yet more cuts.
Neither will we let his attempts at 'divide-and-rule' succeed. Robbing our pensions will do nothing to help private-sector pensioners. If Danny Alexander really cared about the way that private pension schemes have been attacked by greedy employers, he would leave public-sector schemes alone and, instead, reverse the pensions robbery in the private sector.
But the best answer to Alexander came from the NAHT (Headteachers) Executive who unanimously voted to ballot for strike action!
NATIONAL NUT PRESS RELEASE:
Commenting on the outline given by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander of the Government’s position on public sector pensions, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said;
“Danny Alexander's statement confirms what the NUT has been saying all along. The Government is not, and never was, taking our pensions negotiations seriously.
“This is the ‘offer’ that the Government is making to teachers: pay 50% more for your pension, and then when you retire at 68, your pension will be indexed only to the lower CPI measure of inflation.
“In other words, there is no shift at all from the Government’s original position – we must pay more, work longer and get less.
“The Teachers’ Pension Scheme is viable, a fact the Government is completely ignoring. The agreement reached in 2007 meant teachers pay more for their pensions, the normal pension age has been raised to 65 for new entrants and employer contributions have been capped.
“The Government has failed to carry out any valuations of the public sector schemes, which we believe will confirm the National Audit Office view that their costs are falling because of reforms already in place.
“The proposed unjustified increases in pension contributions will result in many teachers simply opting out of a scheme they can no longer afford. This will have disastrous consequences for both the individual and society. Fewer people will have any interest in going into an extremely demanding profession should these reforms go ahead.
“The Government has already broken its promise to protect accrued rights, despite what Danny Alexander has said today, by changing pensions indexation and cutting payments to those already retired and about to retire.
“The Government believes it can railroad over our negotiations and over the facts. It is for this reason the NUT had no option but to ballot for strike action. We cannot stand back and see these unnecessary attacks on public sector pensions happen.
“It is not a case of insulating the public sector but defending what is right and fair.”