Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

NUT refuses to back pension reforms

The National Union of Teachers has refused to back the Government's pension reforms

The Government faced continued resistance to its controversial public sector pension reforms when members of the biggest teachers' union backed its stance of refusing to sign up to the proposals.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said 93% of its members supported the decision and wanted to try to achieve further improvements.

A survey of 11,000 NUT members showed that nine out of 10 did not believe teachers should have to work until they were 68 for a full pension, and a similar number were against higher contributions.

General secretary Christine Blower said: "This survey shows that NUT members do not accept the Government's arguments for reducing teachers' pensions. They do not accept this race to the bottom, cutting public sector pensions in the same way as private sector pensions have already been cut.

"The NUT will continue to campaign for teachers' pensions and a fair pension for all."

The union, which has more than 300,000 members, is due to take part in further talks with the Government on the long-running pensions row later on Tuesday.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), which represents 160,000 teachers, decided on Monday to accept the pension reforms following the results of a poll of members in which 91.6% of respondents voted in favour of the proposals.

But leaders of other unions involved in last year's huge pensions strike are discussing further walkouts because of continued opposition to the Government's reforms. Tuesday's development follows a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies which claimed that the Government's reforms are unlikely to save money in the long term.

Savings from higher pension ages were offset by other elements of pensions becoming more generous, with lower earners generally becoming better off, said the report.

Higher earners were likely to lose out, with the move from final salary to career average schemes penalising workers who have big pay increases over time, said the IFS.

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