The SSTA today decided to ballot its members on strike action in defence of membersâ€™ pensions. The decision was taken unanimously by the unionâ€™s Executive at a meeting in Edinburgh today.
The Government has given no indication of any willingness to move on its desired changes to teachersâ€™ pension arrangements. In particular, the decision to make future pension provision payable at the state retirement age for men (currently 65 and due to rise) is totally unacceptable. This matter was last negotiated in 2007 and changes to the pensionable age for new entrants to the profession agreed.
The Government wants another chance to reduce pension benefits, not only of teachers but of all state sector workers. The SSTA does not accept that the Westminster Government has made the case that the teachersâ€™ scheme is underfunded. The Government has been given every opportunity to provide this information and the SSTA has held off making a decision on the matter until the latest date possible.
In particular the SSTA notes with grave concern and with significant suspicion the lack of data on the longevity (and hence pension costs) of teachers who teach until age 65 following a career of well over 40 years in teaching. Effectively the Government will make savings simply because many teachers die earlier.
The SSTA believes that the Government will only listen when strike action is involved. The action will be discontinuous. We believe our members will perhaps be called to take action at most on one day every two months.