The Government hasn’t budged on their plan to make us ‘pay more’ for our pensions. They want to cut every teacher’s income in April.
A UPS1 teacher is set to lose £27 a month - rising to £68 a month by 2014, a £820 yearly pay cut.
Many staff would be hit with even bigger losses. A UPS1 teacher in Inner London is set to lose £44 a month, £113 a month from 2014. Part-time teachers will unfairly lose a larger proportion of their income.
We have to strike again in March, before these pay cuts begin. With losses like this, the question isn’t ‘can we afford to strike again?’, the question is, can we afford NOT to?
2. THE STOLEN CASH ISN’T PAYING FOR PENSIONS
We’ve asked for a proper valuation to explain why they need us to pay more - they still haven’t done it.
There’s still no reason for teachers to pay in more - and then get less pension in return. This is still just an unfair extra tax on public sector staff to pay for Government debts.
It’s worse than that. The ‘Heads of Agreement’ suggests that while teachers pay in more, employers’ contributions will fall! It’s not about a hole in the pensions scheme, it’s just to make a hole in our pockets!
They can afford to improve their pensions deal - but we’ll need to take further action to make them.
3. MINISTERS REFUSED A LOWER RETIREMENT AGE
The ‘Heads of Agreement’ deal agreed by ATL made no further improvement in retirement ages.
Negotiators had understood that Ministers might at least agree that no teacher would have to work beyond 65. But this was refused.
Osborne also announced that the state pension age will rise even more quickly than planned. More teachers will have to work on to 67 to claim their full pension.
Ministers had already conceded in November that teachers over 50 could still retire at 60 with their full pension. But other teachers will still have to work on - perhaps to 68 or more - to get their full rights.
In November, all unions agreed that this concession was nowhere near enough. If it wasn’t enough then, it’s still not enough now!
4. WHO CAN WORK UNDER THIS PRESSURE ‘TIL 68 ?
Teacher workload and stress is already at intolerable levels. Now they want to increase our hours, observe us more often and sack us more easily. Who can work under this stress until they’re 68?
Most teachers will be forced to retire long before they reach their state pension age. They will have to give up £1,000s in actuarial losses by retiring ‘early’. This ‘deal’ means ‘pay more, get a LOT less’.
If we retreat now, we’ll give Gove and Cameron confidence to press ahead with the ‘bullies charter’ and all their other attacks. Instead, we have to show the ConDems that we aren’t going to let them.
5. THE PENSIONS ROBBERY WILL DAMAGE EDUCATION
The Government’s plans will ruin education. If they get their way, teaching will no longer be a career. Instead, casual staff, without a proper pension, will be bullied into accepting relentless workload. They will work in privatised schools where lower employers’ pension costs encourage the profiteers.
We must explain to parents how we are fighting to defend teachers and education. In both June and November, our strikes were well-supported by the public. We can win public support again for our continuing campaign of action.
6. CONTINUED ACTION CAN WIN MORE CONCESSIONS
The ATL leadership has regrettably convinced its members to vote for their ‘deal’ by arguing that this is the best that we can hope to win. We can, and must, win much more.
The threat of action in November forced some concessions out of this unpopular Government. But, with continued action, we can win further gains for teachers.
We can’t settle for an inadequate deal that still means that all of us pay more, to get less pension, and where most have to retire older.
7. MOST TEACHERS OPPOSE THE PENSIONS ‘DEAL’
In an email survey, NUT members have voted overwhelmingly to oppose the ‘Heads of Agreement’.
Both of the two largest teaching unions, the NUT and NASUWT, have refused to accept it. INTO in Northern Ireland, EiS in Scotland and UCAC in Wales have also all refused to sign-up to this ‘deal’.
Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary has rightly said that the deal is “set to wreak massive injustice on the overwhelming majority of teachers”. By taking action, hopefully together, we can and must, still stop that injustice.
8. OUR COALITION CAN BE STRONGER THAN THEIRS!
Some unions may have retreated, but a strong coalition of unions remains firmly opposed to the ‘Heads of Agreement’ deal. The UNITE union has rejected it. PCS, representing most civil servants, are looking to take more action. Firefighters in the FBU may act too.
The NUT is helping to convene meetings of all those unions who cannot accept the deal to try and co-ordinate a joint plan of action.
Together, we can be a powerful force. Let’s act to stop this robbery.
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR ACTION IN THE UNION SURVEYS
Both the NUT and NASUWT have indicated they will be surveying members to consult on plans for further action. Many school groups have already met and agreed support.
Spread the word and make sure teachers tell their unions that they will fight on.