Sunday, June 19, 2011

Teachers' Pensions

The Government is proposing to increase the amount teachers pay into their pensions from 6.4% to 9.8% of their salary. The age from which this pension can be claimed (retirement age) will also go up.

The arguments for and against these changes run something like this:

FOR

1) People are living longer and therefore get to claim more years of their pension. (I believe that in 1980 the average teacher only lived long enough to claim 4.7 years). This rising cost can either be funded by increasing the contributions made by working teachers or we pay the increased cost out of general taxation.  Such a move would not be popular with the average worker.

2) Public Sector Pensions give a much better return per pound paid in than those available to the private sector. Why should this unfair advantage exist?

AGAINST

1) Teachers' pensions have always been in recompense for being paid less than their private sector equivalents.

That's the gist of it. Ignore all the political stuff that always gets dragged into these arguments, ie:

"The last Government massively overspent!"
"David Cameron hates the public sector!"
"Something about the bankers and/or Mrs Thatcher!"

We have a simple choice. Either accept the changes or go on strike. If we take the first option then we lose out financially and the second will alienate the general public and we will possibly lose in the end anyway.

Actually there is a third option. We could examine our contracts of employment a bit more carefully and stop doing all the extra unpaid stuff, such as the endless preparation and bizarre marking schemes. Whilst we're at it, let's have a mass boycott of Ofsted inspections. Maybe we could then try and negotiate a compromise deal.

It might work or it might not, but I think it would have more chance than a simple strike.

28 comments:

Lord Blagger said...

You can't ignore the other bits, particularly about the 'we overspent'.

It's not past tense, its current tense. The government is overspending. By 160 billion a year and its the spending is going up next year.

You also have to question, are you underpaid compared to the private sector. In lots of cases no.

However that misses the real issue. There is no fund. The government has taken your pensions contributions and its 'notional' pension contributions for you and spent them. With no fund, you don't get compound interest. It's the same with the state pension, and the state second pension.

The effect is the same as having all your pension fund loaned to the government at 0% interest. We aren't talking small peanuts either. For civil servants, it comes to 1300 billion pounds. Government borrowing is only 1050 billion.

So far from having a secure pension because it owns assets, you've got a dodgy pension that was worse than Robert Maxwell's little set up. For the same reason too, it was run by crooks.

So what you want is people who weren't responsible for the crime to pay you. Just like a victim of crime robbing the next person to put them back where they were - any person.

Then there is the question over service. People pay taxes for services. Money going on past pension promises isn't going on services. Allow people to opt out, and it will collapse.

Your extra payments will just go to past pensioners, and you aren't any more secure. So you are still being conned.

It's down to fairness at the end of the day.

Not that its fair to deprive you of a large part of your pension.

No that its not fair to you, and equally its not fair to others to be force to pay you when they get nothing in return.

Anonymous said...

Don't strike on this issue.
Far, far too many people working in this country have little or no pension provision other than the state pension. They will see it as whinging and protecting self interest and if they have additional problems heaped on them by sorting child care because teachers are on strike over this issue then any good will teachers may have gained will evaporate like early morning mist.
If teachers want to make a point then why not strike for the month of August when schools will be closed.
No on second thoughts don't strike in August I forgot of course that if you strike you don't get paid and the last thing you want to do is remind those struggling tax payers without pensions that you get nice long paid holidays!
Difficult one.

Anonymous said...

I am a PC and our pensions are also under threat. In your case I don't think the public have much sympathy because of your long holidays.
I would like to ask about all the extra stuff you do.Is it compulsory? Would it affect possible promotion prospects if you just did the minimum?
Also are you allowed to get a second job during the holidays/weekends to boost your income?
If my pension gets cut then I will become a very belligerent PC,and I won't be the only one.We do a lot of things that are not compulsory which may surprise members of the public.For example we cannot be made to drive.If we decided not to take cars out then you would see a lot of bobbies on the beat which is what the media want.However if you live a few miles from me or the criminals drive away then you've had it.
A difficult subject I know.
Jaded

Anonymous said...

Really looking forward to teaching P.E and reffing rugby matches at the age of 67.
There will be strikes, strikes and more strikes because the public sector can add up( well, apart from P.E teachers).
I will lose seven years of pension payments, about (100 grand for me.
People have forgotten the carnage caused by teachers striking as everybody else has to take time off work to look after their kids. This time, they won't care how much they are hated, they will strike until they get a satisfactory compromise.

Anonymous said...

The government has taken your pensions contributions and its 'notional' pension contributions for you and spent them.

Which leaves the government (ie. the taxpayer) on the hook. The money was spent on many things, providing services while avoiding tax increases for example, that benefited the taxpayer.

So what you want is people who weren't responsible for the crime to pay you.

When the government of a country does something, the citizens are generally considered responsible for it.

Dack said...

Anonymous PC... taking my term-time hours and 'holiday workdays' into account I get about 4-5 weeks off.

Rather than strike I'd prefer we keep to our 1265 (is it?) contracted hours, if that's 'legal'/possible.

What's your retirement age? I can understand age being a barrier to physical work after a time (though from some of the older PCs I've seen of late they don't seem to be doing much to keep themselves fit...) but the sustained/high stress levels of teaching (and I worked for a decade in the private sector, so I'm in a position to make comparisons) is a killer. I don't know any teachers above the age of 60, except for those who move to private schools in their 50s for an easier life.

Anonymous said...

Derek
No one moves to a private school for an easy life. Saturday working after school activities not to mention all the sports activities on a Saturday afternoon. It is a six day week not the 5 day state sector week

Skint.Teacher said...

Cracking post!

You've made a really good point about working to rule and cutting out all the extra, non-contractual work we do. However, if we stopped all this then it could severely effect our own enjoyment of the job, especially in delivering effective learning opportunities. it would result in a lower quality education for my pupils.

On the plus side, headteachers would all have a mass panic within days, and while pensions aren't their fault, they would be forced to pass the message upwards. It would soon move up the chain. The education system would collapse. Again, is this what we want to achieve.

The problem is, are we willing to be trodden on by the government because of our desire to allow our pupils to reach their potential. Or is a short, sharp shock of a one-day strike a better answer?

I would go for a strike, although I do feel that we should give negotiations more time and delay the strike until the autumn.

Skint.Teacher

Anonymous said...

So, you're losing 7 years of pension payments, at a cost of £100,000 eh. That's about £14,000 a year.

Considering you only contribute £2,000 a year or thereabouts to your pension, you think this is an honest deal ?

(PS: I know about compounding. You lose it because of the indexing)

Henry Crun said...

"Teachers' pensions have always been in recompense for being paid less than their private sector equivalents."

I woek in the private sector. A teacher and his partner (also a teacher) live in the house across the road from mine. This is a household that has two cars (Honda CRV and Audi A4, and a Kawasaki 500cc motorcycle. Said teacher's garage also contains two sets of scuba tanks, two sets of skis, two bicycles, two sets of golf clubs. Said teachers are away most weekends at their holiday home in the Lake District and have two holidays abroad each year.

If their standard of living is anything to go by, I must be rolling in clover.

Anonymous said...

The changes to pay and pensions will have to take place. The reason? There is no money!

The government is borrowing 160 billion this year, about a fourth of what it spends. That is about 2500 pounds for every man, woman and child in the country.

About 43 billion is being paid in interest on government debt. That is about 700 pounds per-person. Next year the interest will be about 47 billion and the year after that 52 billion.

Those are the facts.

Going on strike can not change the facts.

If the government does not balance the books it will not be able to borrow at a reasonable rate of interest. Greece is having to pay 30% to borrow. What is 30% of 160 billion?

There is no alternative.

Anonymous said...

As usual, berks like Henry Crun roll out the old "all teachers are loaded" crap based on the evidence of one neighbour. Very scientific.
Most teachers will accept the other changes to their pension such as increased contributions and career average earnings but the retirement age is the big issue. Nobody wants to be teaching until 67 unless they wish to die early.
The 30th of June is just the start of a very long battle and the vast majority of teachers I know ( more than two Henry)are willing to strike for as long as it takes and cause as much disruption as it takes until the issue is sorted.
We are already unpopular, we don't care if this makes us more so.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 17:52, if you are unpopular it is probably because you are a rubbish teacher. Most of the teachers I know are popular with parents and pupils alike, and the ones that aren't, that's the reason.

Oh, and you all forgot this one:

Brown raided all the private pension schemes. You lot didn't speak up for us then. Why do you think we are going to have any sympathy for you now?

Henry Crun said...

Anon 17:52

If you don't like your pay and conditions then get off your loathsome fat backside and look for another job. Oh, that's right you can't because you are unemployable elsewhere other than the public sector where you leech off the taxpayers. In my book, you are getting just what you deserve after 13 years of being pandered and mollycoddled and Labour largesse.

When you realise that THERE IS NO MORE MONEY BECAUSE GORDON SPENT IT, and that the public sector pension scheme is just a ponzi scheme (that is, there is no public sector pension fund - it relies on NI to prop it up), then maybe, just maybe I might have a scintilla of sympathy for your plight.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 09:02

Read the post properly you clown, he/she said "we", not "I", referring to teachers unpopularity as a whole.
You're right about having your pension schemes raided but if you were all in a few large unions like the public sector would you have stood by and done nothing to try ans stop it? I think not.

HenryCrun(the sensitive one)

He/she is clearly very happy with pay and conditions you clown, that's why they're striking!
More assumptions i see...lazy, fat, unemployable,... maybe you should tell your teacher neighbours that to their faces,then run away and hope they are too fat to catch you. I hope they're not.

Anonymous said...

It's clown city today!

Anonymous said...

@anonymous
"Read the post properly you clown, he/she said "we", not "I", referring to teachers unpopularity as a whole"


Teachers are not as a whole unpopular. That's rubbish.

Anonymous 17:52 was obviously talking about his own experience, which possibly comes down to a rubbish school, to be fair, not necessarily him personally.

We are still not going to have any sympathy for you, popular or not (and you won't be if you strike).

Broon raided private pensions because he wanted to spend the money on leftwankery. Camaroon is now raiding yours because of all the money broon spent on leftwankery, and because he lacks the balls to make any actual cuts to the leftwankery even in the face of bankrupcy. It's your turn to pay.

Yes it would have been fairer if governments had made honest promises to you and funded them, rather than promises they knew were lies. It would also be fairer if having been promised that pensions would accumulate tax free that had been kept as well.

But guess what? Our rulers do what they do because they can. It's not fair. They don't care. We are just sheep to shorn. My fleece hasn't grown back yet, so it's your turn.

Anonymous said...

The big mistake is to think we are sheep. These sheep are fighting back.

Dack said...

Oh Lord - the old 'you didn't strike for us, so f*ck you' argument.

Why didn't you strike? Just because you don't have the balls to stand up for yourself don't blame us. And what - you think we danced for joy when your pension got plundered? We're not all like you.

We'll be played off against each other so that the Govt can shaft the lot of us - and some people are stupid enough to fall for it, obviously.

Anonymous said...

Well said Dack!

Anonymous said...

How would striking against my employer help with the government robbing my pension? I could go on tax strike - but they'd take my house or put me in prison? Have you got the balls for that? You are just being an idiot, Dack.

I'm not criticising you for not "striking for me" which is illegal anyway, but because Broon is YOUR MAN, so **** you when Camaroon tries to rewrite your imaginary ponzi scheme into something which might actually happen and you whine about it.

You should realize that when you buy a stolen laptop in a pub car-park and when you get it home it has turned into a bag of bricks, you got what you deserved.

Anonymous said...

Hello Dack, police retirement age when I joined was 30 years after joining so you had to get in before 30 years old realistically to get the full pension.This has now changed to 35 years service.I pay 11% of my wages towards this,the new PC's pay 9% (but the pension is smaller). I think it was fairly generous at the time due to our working conditions of dealing with scum in life-threatening conditions and also not being allowed to strike.
I have sympathy with teachers.Had good ones not taught me I would not be clever enough to do my job.
Jaded

Dack said...

I'm not a Labour voter/supporter you daft sod. But you're too stupid not to stereotype, eh.

Plus you're the ones who are whining, jeez.

Bags of bricks all round I think you'll find - in the hope we'll be busy lobbing them at each other whilst those in power of whatever hue ride into a networked back-scratched sunset.

Jaded - there are good and bad teachers (as policemen, I suspect!) I think you have to have a sense of duty to be committed enough to be 'good'. There's so much anger about this, though - if it goes through I fear many dedicated teachers will just think, 'up yours.'

Anonymous said...

The police have a decent pension arrangement, though not as good as it was.... and they fully deserve it, as do the fire brigade, nurses and.... yes teachers.
I came out of the private sector from a well paid job to have a go at teaching. I realised very quickly that although I was willing to put in the crazy hours ( and yes they were crazy as an NQT trying to keep afloat) I simply wasn't good enough at teaching to feel I deserved to be there.
So I'm back in my old job...as my own boss. I can read the paper when I arrive, with a cup of coffee, before I start my 9 hour day, and no bells!!
Get out there and strike to save your pensions and SUPPORT each other for f**ks sake!
As for the private sector, look at BA, they won their own battle because they had the balls to stand up and fight, yes they caused chaos on the way, but it worked.

Jon said...

Interesting article - although generally I agree, the problem with leaving out the other arguements ie "there's no money" means that you are under estimating the scale of the task in winning your battles.

The government will win this because it has to. If it gives in to you then everyone else will be empowered and before you know it the markets won't trust the UK to keep to its spending targets, new debt costs will increase, the pound will fall, interest rates will rise, and the £100 you've saved on your pension costs will be eaten up by your increased mortgage.

This one is un-winnable. Also, most teachers have a sense of responsibility to their children, and many will just not go on strike - weakening the effect. My wife didn't strike last time, and no one else in her school did.

Anonymous said...

the money you have put into your pensions has gone,the goverment has lost the lot, in private pension terms you would have nothing, however in your case the private sector has to re-pay the lot in taxes to fund your retirment no one likes change ,but you have to be realistic,your pensions are unsustanable, your still getting a mutch better deal than the private sector ,you work hard no question but so do i, my local council alone costs me over £200 a year for pensions out of my council tax, god knows what the figure is for all the puplic sector , its money i should be putting toward my own pension maybe i wouldnt have to work until 70, you cant win this one, were is the money going to come from, if you think you can do better try leave teaching, try the private sector, but be aware poor if any company pensions, stock market risks on private pensions little if any sick pay ,low if any pay rises and not many jobs out their we,ve been battered by the resesion over the past few years please wake up its still a good deal, id give my back teeth for it.

Anonymous said...

Why should i, the tax payer, and a 40% tax payer at that, first of all have to pay for my own private pension and also have to pay for a teachers pension ? I pay over £300 into my pension but will get less than a teacher when i retire, which i will have to wait until i am 68 to do so. On top of this, nor do i get 12 or 13 weeks paid holiday and every weekend off. All the general public want is a fair deal, the teachers want more out then they need to put more in, simple as that. Ihave just read that teachers are getting a 5.2 % rise in their pensions as well, when did anyone with a private pension see a rise in whatthey get, never. Lastly, all those teachers out there, just spare a thought for the thousands of hard working people that had pensions with equitable life, it wasnt so equitablewhen they retired, they lost just about everything, your pension will always be guaranteed

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