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SO WHAT PENSION WOULD TEACHERS ACCEPT?

(35 Posts)
keepontrukkin Wed 29-Jun-11 00:16:48

Posted as a teacher who won't be on strike on Thursday.

Coalition proposals are pretty clear if not very nice, but I have not seen anything about what unions are willing to accept. Do they want to keep status quo, in which case how do they think it should be paid for? Really? Or are they willing to accept reform - if so, what?

It would be nice to know...

Jareth Wed 29-Jun-11 00:28:38

I would like to know too.

mrz Wed 29-Jun-11 07:19:17

I'm happy to pay higher contributions and work longer (health permitting) if there is evidence that it is necessary but I object to paying more for longer and getting much less in return.

mrz Wed 29-Jun-11 07:24:14

No the unions are saying they want evidence that the TPS fund is not sustainable and are willing to negotiate changes as agreed in 2006.

Mr Hobby (NAHT) said: “This report on pensions from the Public Accounts Committee serves to strengthen the already strong case that public sector pensions are not the drain on the country's finances that the government claims. The committee recognises that the pension scheme changes of 2007-2008 have served to stabilise costs and will affect significant savings.

"The government is being disingenuous when it claims that pension costs are unaffordable - the committee quite rightly points out that the government has failed to find out what is affordable. To move to make changes to the pension scheme for teachers when the case for change is unproven is reckless in the extreme. The government runs the risk of needlessly demoralising a whole profession without any evidence of a need for change."

Rosebud05 Wed 29-Jun-11 07:43:56

Exactly.

I'm not a teacher, but I'm really pleased that the teaching unions are challenging the 'but we can't afford it' rhetoric which the coalition are using to undermine essential services and everyone who works in them.

sarahfreck Wed 29-Jun-11 17:03:52

If I was still teaching in state schools, I think it would be the thought of working till 68 that would be the sticking point for me. Teaching (especially in primary) is a very physical job and pretty tiring at 48, let alone 68. As someone who has done both, I think there is a big difference between still doing an office based job at 67 and dealing with a class of lively 8 year olds! I'd ask all MPs over the age of 60 to do the job (with support and supervision of course) for a month and then see if they still thought it was feasable!!

sillybillies Wed 29-Jun-11 17:33:05

I agree with mrs that I would like to see the evidence that the TPS fund is not sustainable and then the unions would be able to make an informed choice.

Personally I do feel some changes will need to be made whether we contribute more or work longer but at the moment the proposals are unfair.
If pushed I would probably be prepared to contribut more rather than working longer. Most of all, I would like to know that I have a good pension to look forward to.
I just can't imagine having the energy to teach by 68 and I teach GCSE and A level, god knows how reception teachers would cope.

Mum2be79 Wed 29-Jun-11 18:37:08

I'm happy to increase my contributions as long as my pension is no less than it is now. I am NOT happy about working until I am 66/68 until I can claim it. I can't claim my state pension until I am 68 (I've had my forecast letter) and feel that at that age, I would end up not reaching retirement due to death on the job!

Teaching IS a VERY demanding and physical job. I cannot see ANY 66 year old being able to keep up with the pace and have the stamina as a fresh, newly qualified 22/23 year old. As a 'mum to be', I would be concerned that my child of any age would be taught by someone over the age of sixty. I have seen it in my school (a male teacher retired aged 65) and he was unable to keep up with the changes, deal with challenging behaviour, teach in a style and method that is 'current thinking' and so was 'moved out of the classroom' into a senior management role. He's back at our school doing 1:1 and he's admitted that despite covering here and there, he hasn't got the energy anymore to teach.

I'd also point out that when applying for life insurance, teacher's have the WORST life expectancy of any other profession. We also pay more in contributions than most people. My DH works as a chemical Engineer. he currently works at a power station and did work in a few establishments that deal with dangerous chemicals. Yet MY insurance contributions are MORE than his!

hockeyforjockeys Wed 29-Jun-11 18:46:15

I agree. I want to know what the facts are regarding what is actually affordable. I am happy to pay more for the same return and I am not completely against working longer (although I can't imagine still being a class teacher 40 years down the line). However as others have said the government haven't provided any hard evidence that the current set-up is unsustainable, and until they do I will support my union's strike action as they are the only ones providing clear facts at the moment.

twinklypearls Wed 29-Jun-11 18:48:11

I want to know what the country can afford. I will accept that I will have to pay more even though that means that I will have to find an extra way of making the extra money as I cannot afford the contributions.

Avantia Wed 29-Jun-11 19:18:01

What percentage of teachers pay currently goes towards pension contributions ?

hockeyforjockeys Wed 29-Jun-11 19:25:48

6.4% with the proposal for 9.8%, an approximate £60-100 rise per month.

meditrina Wed 29-Jun-11 19:27:30

The big difficulty is that all unfunded public sector pensions are like a giant Ponzi scheme. It only works if the bottom of the pyramid is the biggest part.

I read that the current ratio of workers to pensioners is about 4:1. By the 2040s this will be about 2.5:1, and there will no longer be an adequate base.

So it's not just what teachers might accept, it's what can be afforded. Not just teachers - the whole (unfunded) public sector pensions bill. It's a pretty grim scenario (and the cynic in me attributes Labour's almost total silence on pensions reform to knowledge that this simply has to be done).

BusterGut Wed 29-Jun-11 19:44:53

I personally think the 50% more is OK, as 14% employer contribution is very high.
I can also see that the rise in age has to happen because of the age of the population, although I think that most teachers will retire early.

However, I think that the change to a pension based on average earnings is unfair on a predominantly female profession. We calculated that 50% of our teachers have taken several years out of teaching, have returned part time (some still remain so) and have then gone full-time as their chidlren have grown up. These women were expecting a pension based on their full-time work, not their years of part-time work or NO work. That is where the government is going to save a fortune, in addition to the 5-6 years of pension saved when teachers find they cannot stick the job after turning 60.

mrz Wed 29-Jun-11 19:53:03

Early retirement will be a stumbling block IMO

hockeyforjockeys Wed 29-Jun-11 20:05:20

One fact that I'd missed from the Hutton report (which is where the government is using to justify the changes), is that the total cost of public sector pensions would fall from 1.9% of GDP to 1.4% in 2060 if they are left unchanged. This is where my knowledge of economics fails me, as to me that appears that it would cost the country less. Anyone able to explain?

meditrina Wed 29-Jun-11 20:07:26

What's the cost for the years up to 2060? There's a "baby boomer" demographic hump to be dealt with before then.

hockeyforjockeys Wed 29-Jun-11 20:14:22

No idea. However 2051 is the year I would retire under the new scheme so it feels pretty unfair that I and those behind me will have to suffer because of the generation before us.

mrz Wed 29-Jun-11 20:49:17

www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmpubacc/833/83302.htm

“This report on pensions from the Public Accounts Committee serves to strengthen the already strong case that public sector pensions are not the drain on the country's finances that the government claims. The committee recognises that the pension scheme changes of 2007-2008 have served to stabilise costs and will affect significant savings.

"The government is being disingenuous when it claims that pension costs are unaffordable - the committee quite rightly points out that the government has failed to find out what is affordable. To move to make changes to the pension scheme for teachers when the case for change is unproven is reckless in the extreme. The government runs the risk of needlessly demoralising a whole profession without any evidence of a need for change."

meditrina Wed 29-Jun-11 21:05:17

The report you link, mrz, is important. But it is inconclusive, and says much will depend on the shape of the further proposals due to be made this autumn.

It says that it is too soon to judge whether the earlier pensions reform will be sufficient, and that more work is needed on affordability (as you note). Unless/until the underpinnings to assumptions on affordability are made, one equally cannot say with certainty that the reforms to date are indeed enough. The uncertainty about the discount rate is probably the more immediate issue (and the one more likely to affect contributions).

mrz Wed 29-Jun-11 21:15:06

exactly meditrina!

The Public Accounts Committee report acknowledge that the governments claims aren't based in fact and at the present time there is no evidence that these changes are required.

meditrina Wed 29-Jun-11 21:20:44

Equally, there is no evidence they are not.

The collapse of the demographic supporting the unfunded schemes is concerning, and is sufficient to give a presumption that further measures are necessary.

SozyDod Wed 29-Jun-11 21:26:59

How much is the employer contribution to the pension, does anyone know?

NorfolkNChance Wed 29-Jun-11 21:28:23

I would be happier with the government REDUCING their side of the contributions rather than increasing my contributions.

meditrina Wed 29-Jun-11 21:30:31

Capping Exchequer liability may form one of the options for controlling costs.

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