Teaching union accepts pension deal
A teaching union has decided to accept the Government's controversial pension reforms, it has been announced.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), which represents 160,000 teachers, said the move followed the results of a poll of members in which 91.6% of respondents voted in favour of the proposals.
ATL president Alice Robinson said: "ATL members are realists. They recognise how tough times are and that the Government is determined not to give any further ground.
"Although the Government's final offer does not give us everything we wanted, it is the best deal we could get in the current economic climate. And members do not want a significantly worse deal imposed on them if they rejected this one."
ATL members took part in November's strike by up to two million public sector workers in protest at the pension changes.
The announcement means there will not be a repeat of such a huge strike, although leaders of other unions are discussing further walkouts because of continued opposition to the Government's reforms.
Mary Bousted, ATL's general secretary, said: "The pensions talks and negotiations were incredibly tough. The Government did not want to make concessions and we had a hard fight to get a fairer deal for teachers.
"It was only because ATL members, along with the members of six other education unions, were prepared to show their strength of feeling by going on strike and lobbying their MPs that we managed to force the Government to shift its position and start talks to get an improved offer.
"I am really proud of the courage ATL members showed when they took part in the union's first national strike in its 127-year history. We are still not happy about the pension contribution rates for 2012 to 2014, on which the Government refused to negotiate. But we will negotiate hard over the rates from 2015 onwards."
A Department for Education spokesman said: "We welcome today's announcement. The deal on the table reflects teachers' and heads' arguments about what's most important to the profession, particularly around early retirement. It's a fair deal which strikes the right balance - guaranteeing teachers a good future pension but keeping long-term costs firmly under control."