Education & Family

Teachers balloted over pension strike action

class scene
Image caption If strike action goes ahead, tens of thousands of pupils could suffer disruption to their schooling

Strike action over changes to teachers' pensions has moved a step closer, as the National Union of Teachers starts balloting members in England and Wales.

The move by the NUT will be followed on Friday by the more moderate union, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

Any action will see thousands of pupils suffering disruption to classes.

Unions say planned government changes to the teacher pension scheme will mean teachers working longer, paying more and receiving less when they retire.

Ballots for members of the NUT start on 17 May and on 20 May for members of the ATL. Both close on 14 June.

The two unions passed resolutions at their annual Easter conferences last month agreeing to ballot for action over changes to the Teachers Pension Scheme (TPS), affecting teachers in England and Wales.

For the ATL, the decision to hold a ballot is very unusual - the last time the union took national industrial action was in 1979.

General secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: "ATL members deeply regret having to ballot for strike action - striking is the last thing they want to do.

"But members are very angry and believe they need to take a strong stand now to make the government stop and listen."

The National Association of Head Teachers has also agreed to ballot members over the matter.

'Not acceptable'

General secretary of the NUT Christine Blower said anger amongst teachers was growing.

"It is quite clear that the government wants teachers to pay more, work longer and get less for their pensions and the government has already cut the annual pensions increase with no negotiation.

"It is vital that we build the broadest campaign to send a clear message to government that this is not acceptable.

"Our own surveys show that the proposed increases to the TPS will mean that many young teachers could opt out of the scheme all together. This will have disastrous consequences for the profession and recruitment.

"The NUT, along with the other teaching unions, remains fully committed to reaching an acceptable outcome by negotiation with government, but believes the government is not taking negotiations seriously."

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