Sunday, 13 November 2011

Government makes £46 billion profit out of teachers' pensions!

Report from the November 10 meeting of the NUT Executive:

November's NUT Executive meeting endorsed the steps being taken by the Union to build up to November 30 - in what will be the biggest day of strike action in living memory.

We should take that action confident in the knowledge that our campaign - including the strike on June 30 and the lobby on October 26 - is beginning to shift the Government.

Their new ‘offer’ to unions, followed by Maude’s silly suggestion of a ‘15-minute’ strike, all show that they are worried about the effect on public consciousness of millions of us taking strike action on November 30. Far from agreeing to back-off as Maude suggests, when our opponent starts to wobble, that’s the time we need to push our hardest!

Their new proposals are a welcome sign of movement but, as will be explained in other union materials, nowhere near good enough. They still mean teachers will have to pay more, to get less pension and, for all but a few of us, to retire older. They still represent an unjust tax on public sector workers - not to pay for pensions but for the  Government’s debts.

In fact, the Executive were given first sight of NUT research that has gone back to  the start of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme in 1923 and compared what’s been paid in by teachers to what’s been paid out. Adjusting for today’s prices, it shows that the UK government has made a staggering £46.4 billion surplus out of teachers’ pension contributions !!

The Executive welcomed the excellent 76% YES vote for strike action by the NAHT, which  was just one more indication of the growing support for joint action. Now we have to work hard to encourage and explain to all teacher and support staff  colleagues, in all the many unions who will be covered by strike ballots, why we all need to take strike action together:


  • Complete the NUT Survey on the new ‘offer’ - look for an email from the National Union.
  • Visit the NUT website for all the latest news including the updated pensions loss calculator:
  • Help get our message to the public - many local NUT Associations will be organising   meetings and stalls - please help if you can.
  • Call a school NUT meeting - or joint meeting - to get everyone ready for November 30.
  • Inform your Head and ask them to send a letter to parents saying the school will be closed so that staff can defend pensions.
  • Make plans for the day … unions may be  arranging local assembly points and events before we all meet for the all-London March. Assemble: 12 noon, Lincolns Inn Fields, London WC1, (Holborn tube station).

NUT Executive news in brief:
Rep of the Year Awards - have you got an outstanding school rep or officer in your division? Why not nominate them for the NUT awards - see details in the latest issue of ‘The Teacher’.
Sixth Form Colleges ballot - the Executive agreed to proceed with a national ballot of 6FC members in our campaign against the pay freeze and funding cuts facing members in this sector.
SEN Green Paper - the Executive agreed a motion for Conference warning how giving funds directly to parents for SEN is a mechanism to encourage privatisation and will mean big cuts in services.
Maximum Classroom Temperature - we are working with other unions to demand a legal limit.
Attacks on Employment Rights - the Government is threatening to weaken TUPE and double to two years the time you have to be employed before you can pursue a claim for unfair dismissal.

London NUT - United Left - A number of NUT officers - including Alex Kenny and I - have been making plans to bring together everyone who wants to build the union’s campaigns in a London ‘United Left’. Look out for news of our first meeting, planned for December, which we will be calling around the vital question - “What next after November 30?”

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