NASUWT: Process used by DofE on pensions deal was “a debacle”

The National Executive of the NASUWT, the largest teachers' union, met today to consider the DfE proposals for the reform of the teachers' pension scheme which were presented to teacher unions on 20 December 2011.

The National Executive endorsed unanimously the stance taken by the NASUWT negotiators not to sign up to the Government's 'Heads of Agreement' and to reserve the Union's position.

The National Executive based its decision on the fact that:

the Heads of Agreement document is incomplete and lacks an appropriate assessment of the impact of the changes on teachers;

the manner in which the DfE conducted the process of seeking to reach agreement has been completely unsatisfactory;

critical issues of concern remain, including the contribution rates and the normal pension age.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Put bluntly the NASUWT National Executive has recognised that the process the DfE used to seek to reach agreement by its imposed deadline of 20 December was a debacle.
“Valuable time was wasted by the DfE. It failed to provide the necessary information on which meaningful discussions could take place, chopped and changed its mind on the issues which were up for discussion and presented some potential changes which did not have Treasury approval.

“Unions were pressurised and threatened to sign up to a document when a final draft was not even available and even when a document was produced as the final meeting was breaking up, overnight the wording was changed unilaterally by the DfE.

“In these circumstances, it would have been completely irresponsible for the NASUWT to have signed-up to the Heads of Agreement.

“These are critical issues which have profound implications for teachers, for the profession and for the education service.

“The Secretary of State promised that he would ensure that the interests of teachers were protected and that he would devote all the time and resources necessary to ensure that every effort was made to reach an agreement.

“I will therefore be writing to the Secretary of State today requesting that he meets as a matter of urgency, with the NASUWT and the other unions which have reserved their position on signing the Heads of Agreement to discuss fully these concerns.”

ENDS

Notes to editors
The NASUWT is currently taking industrial action over pensions and a range of other conditions of service issues, following a successful national ballot of members.

Stuart Gannon
NASUWT Press Office

Tel: 020 7420 9681
Mobile (and out of hours contact): 07966 198894
Address: 5 King Street , Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8SD