Scotland's Teaching Unions United in Condemnation of Pensions Hike

Scotland's two largest teaching unions, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) have today been united in their condemnation of an increase in the pensions contributions paid by Scotland's teachers. The Scottish Government has announced, today, an increase to the contribution rate for the Scottish teachers' pension scheme. The increase, which follows on from a similar increase in 2011, will impose a further 1.2% in pension deductions from teachers' pay, taking the contribution rate to 8.96%, on average.

Condemning the increase, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “The contribution hike that the Scottish Government has set out today is absolutely unjustifiable. It has nothing to do with the cost of teacher pensions but is simply an austerity tax which was originally designed by the UK Government to raise finance for the UK treasury.”

Mr Flanagan continued, “Scottish politicians, including those in the Scottish Government, have long-claimed to oppose the increase but, in meekly passing on changes designed by the Coalition government at Westminster, the Scottish Government has become complicit in this attack on the public sector workforce, and teachers in particular.”

Mr Flanagan added, “The EIS is about to commence a consultative ballot on potential industrial action around future pension scheme design. This tax increase will simply incense members as they prepare to vote on future action.”

Alan McKenzie, Acting General Secretary of the SSTA, also condemned the increase, saying, “Once again Scottish teachers have become the victim of double speak. Scottish Government in particular needs to be honest and declare that it is powerless in the face of this additional and unnecessary tax from Westminster that simply ignores the very real plight of our members.”

Mr McKenzie added, “The SSTA already has a mandate for Working to Contract .We are preparing for the reinstatement of that and will additionally consider taking industrial action beyond that. We are determined to work in concert with other unions to protect our members.”

Further information from: Alan McKenzie on 0131 313 7300