Education International
Education International

UK: Unions strike over pension proposals

published 22 March 2012 updated 27 March 2012

EI’s national affiliates in the UK, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the University and College Union (UCU), are calling a one-day strike in London on 28 March, as the next step in their pension campaign. Trade unionists are protesting against changes to the Teachers' Pension Scheme.

Insufficient concessions

“The Government is well aware that teachers do not accept the changes that they propose to make to our pensions,” said NUT General Secretary Christine Blower. “The vast majority of teaching unions have not signed up to the latest pension proposals which still mean that teachers will have to pay much more, work much longer and get much less in retirement.”

“The NUT believes it is essential that the teaching profession stands united on this issue. Working and taking action together in June and November 2011 brought some concessions from Government, but they do not go far enough. We have no evidence whatsoever that teachers’ pensions are unaffordable.”

Teachers won’t pay for the crisis

UCU has also confirmed that its members in further education colleges and universities in London will join with NUT members for the strike.

“Educators do not like taking strike action,” said UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt. “Our chosen vocation is to change lives and transform life chances and we are unlikely militants. However, it is not fair for ordinary people to suffer huge cuts in their standards of living for a crisis they did not create.”

The Educational Institute of Scotland held a consultative ballot of members which was strongly in favour of a further pensions strike on 28 March. However, the Scottish Government (which deals with Scottish teachers pensions) has now agreed to open discussions with Scottish unions on Scottish teachers' pensions. EIS is therefore not proceeding with strike action at this time.

Another EI UK affiliate, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has agreed to the main principles of pensions changes.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) has not agreed to these principles, but is not taking strike action at this point.

EI supports its UK affiliates’ demands, and calls on the national authorities to engage in further negotiation with education unions.