Although government provided a framework to pensions prior to the holidays, both NASUWT and NAT have refused to sign onto those reforms. These are the two biggest teachers’ unions in Britain and both are demanding that further changes be made.
Just after a meeting if the national executives of the NASUWT, the general secretary stated that the document had been rushed during the negotiation process and as a result is not complete. According to Chris Keats, members of the unions had felt pressure to sign a document which was not in the final stages of draft and even after the meeting dispersed the wording had been changed.
Two of the main concerns being expressed by NASUWT are the issue of rising contributions from teachers and also the correlation of retirement age amongst teachers and state pension age. Even so, there have been no further dates set for additional strikes but that is not out of the realm of possibility if negotiations break down.
From the perspective of the National Union of Teachers, there is an urgent need for further discussion between the unions and the Department of Education because they continue to be committed to reaching an agreement on the matter of pensions. In December the unions were informed that government would provide sufficient resources and time needed for a successful resolution but NUT general secretary, Christine Blower, states that there is a definite need for more funding and negotiations/discussions.
Government’s proposals were rejected on Thursday in terms of proposed health pension reforms. However, these reforms span four public sectors which include civil service, health, local government along with the education sector which is summarily rejecting the current proposals.
The recent walkouts which took place 30 November was coordinated by TUC and approximately 27 unions participated in the staged strikes. In the meantime, activists within the trade unions are seeking another strike date and they are believed to be set to voice this demand on Saturday at a scheduled conference.