Pension Dispute - Members' Update

Meeting of dissenting unions: 25 January and 1 February 2012

A formal offer has been made to public sector unions in England and Wales. Strictly it does not apply to Scotland but the UK Government will wish to see arrangements in Scotland which meet the Treasury’s financial targets. It is likely that the Scottish Government will use the England and Wales proposals as a working model.

Education sector unions not accepting the Government’s terms and present at the specially convened meeting in London were SSTA, NUT, UCU, UCAC (Welsh union) and EIS. ATL have accepted the terms. NASUWT have not but have not attended either of the meetings of the dissenting unions. The dissenting unions met in London on 25 January and 1 February.

The Government offer is unchanged. It still contains the elements the Association finds unacceptable:

  • A career averaged mechanism with tiered contribution rates
  • Normal Pension Age to rise to 65 and then by stages to 68
  • An inaccurately determined commutation rate for the conversion of pension to lump sum

The Government has “imposed” a deadline of 20 February for acceptance of the terms. (It is not clear what a failure to meet the deadline entails.)

At the London meetings there have been discussions of possible further action. The meetings are not intended to produce a plan of action which binds the dissenting unions in any way. Each union is entitled to take action as determined by its own internal decision making processes.

Members will be consulted on further action. No action has been ruled out and the possibility of a long term campaign throughout the lifetime of the current Parliament is not discounted. Any strike action would be as determined by the Association's rules on industrial action generally.

Transitional Protection

It is now agreed that for scheme members who will be aged 50 or over on 1 April 2012 and who are members of the “old” scheme, all service will be superannuated under the terms of the current Regulations regardless of when the teacher retires. If such a teacher retires after the age of 60, therefore, the whole of the pension up until retiral date will be payable under the current (1/80th of final salary) arrangements.

Only if such a teacher is re-employed subsequent to retiral, would the part of the pension relating to the period of re-employment be payable at age 65 (or over).