Teachers may strike over pension reform

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) action committee has voted to make preparations for a national ballot of the union’s members over pensions changes which the government is seeking to impose. 

The changes include a 3.4% increase in pension contributions by 2014.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL, said: “Members are rightly furious the government has delayed a full valuation of the pension scheme and is now demanding they pay more into their pensions before knowing whether this is necessary.

“To add insult to injury, teachers and lecturers are being asked to agree these changes in February, well before Lord Hutton’s review into public sector pensions reports in March.” 

Alice Robinson, senior vice president and chair of ATL’s action committee, added: “Industrial action would be a last resort for ATL members. We are more than happy to negotiate any necessary changes, but we will not accept having changes imposed on us.

“We expect the government to honour the process agreed with the [Trades Union Congress] TUC for reviewing all public sector pensions. And we expect to be told the financial health of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme before agreeing to any changes.

“Teachers and lecturers are realistic and know longer life expectancy means pension schemes need to be kept under review. But the average teacher’s pension at less than £10,000 a year is hardly a king’s ransom. Teachers and lecturers want to be treated fairly, and are prepared to fight to ensure they are.”

Read more articles on the government’s pension changes