Teachers could break with the UK on pensions

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Options for teachers to break with the English government pension scheme will be outlined at a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday).

National Union of Teachers assistant secretary for pay and pensions Andrew Moore will hold an open meeting for teachers at St Ninian’s Lower School, in Onchan.

NUT island branch secretary Karl Flint explained: ‘He intends to explain where the unions are with regard to negotiations over pensions with the current [English] government and to clarify exactly what the scheme means for teachers on the island.

‘But he is also looking to the future to give some idea of the options that might be available to teachers in the island.’

At present teachers’ pay, pensions and conditions are in line with the English government but Mr Flint said: ‘It doesn’t have to be so.

‘We have always guarded that in the past but we are always open to possible change if it’s in our best interests to do so.’

In addition, Mr Moore will discuss the benefits of the optional Teachers’ Pension Scheme.

Mr Flint said: ‘We are hoping it will appeal to not only older members for whom retirement may come in the next 10-15 years.

‘But also younger members who are feeling the pressure of the recession and the increased cost of pensions which is now over 8 per cent for virtually all teachers, rising eventually to 12 per cent for the highest paid teachers.’

During his visit, Mr Moore will also meet the public sector pensions authority, which has responsibility for the management and administration of the majority of the public service pension schemes in the island.

In December, we reported that the NUT in the island was looking into the possibility of teachers pensions coming under the Manx government’s unified pension scheme.

In England, the NUT and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers have agreed a joint strike strategy to show their continued opposition to Education Secretary Michael Gove’s changes. The first strike is set for June 27 in the North West of England.

The meeting at Bemahague starts at 4.15pm.