Teachers will have returned from the summer break hoping for news that the Government has been forced to step back. However, few will be that surprised to hear that the summer's ‘negotiations’ have been a sham. It seems that Ministers are determined to impose an artificial cost-ceiling on pensions schemes that leaves no room for any genuine negotiation.
The Government still wants to make us work longer, to pay in more and then to get less pension when we eventually retire. They have even announced their proposals for how much more teachers will have to pay if they succeed in bringing in the first phase of increased contributions next April.
Anyone earning a full-time salary of more than £40,000 would have to pay 8.0% of their salary towards pensions - compared to 6.4% now. But linking contribution levels to full-time equivalent earnings will particularly penalise part-time staff and Inner London staff who get paid more to offset the high cost of living in the capital.
The Government were rocked by the strength of our action on June 30 - and the extent of public support - but they won’t give in easily. That's because they are on a mission to transfer wealth from working families to the rich, to cheapen the costs of pensions for the benefit of their big business friends that want to take over privatised services - including the new ‘free schools’.
But as the mass petition being launched by seven education unions makes clear, we completely reject the Government's claim that our pensions are unaffordable and a drain on taxpayers.
No, who's draining away our resources? - it's those who wreck the economy and then expect us to bail them out, the big businesses who won't pay their taxes and even have the cheek to object to the 50p tax rate - it's certainly not the dedicated staff providing vital public services.
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