I wrote before the summer holiday to inform you of discussions taking place with the UK Government with regard to proposed changes to pension rules. I informed you that discussions were under way at the UK Working Party on Superannuation (UKWP) but that no firm proposals had been tabled.
That remains the position. The teachers’ side has demanded factual information which has not yet been received. Without this information the talks cannot reach a conclusion. SSTA officials will continue to represent members’ interests at these negotiations.
It is clear that the UK Government wants to implement much of the recent report of the independent public service pensions commission (the Hutton report). It remains uncertain which parts of the report the Government wishes to implement. It is clear however that the basis of the government thinking is minimum cost. The government has however indicated that all pension accrued to date will be protected. Such pension provision will be available to members under the current arrangements (including the right to take pension at the age of 60).
Significant issues have still to be resolved, including:
- Proposals to cease using a final salary mechanism in favour of an average salary mechanism. (This would apply only to future contributions.)
- Tiered funding rates where the percentage paid into a pension would depend on salary level.
Neither of these is an issue upon which the Association would take a definite view until the firm proposals are fully discussed. Only then would an Association position agreed.
The one clear proposal from the Hutton Commission report is the suggestion that the normal pension age for all public sector workers should be the same as the state retirement age which may reach 68 by the time the proposals are implemented in 2014 -2015.
I would also draw your attention to one change which has already been imposed and announced. The government intends that the general level of teachers’ contributions will reach 9.6% by 2015.
As always in this Association policy is determined by members. As soon as firm proposals are available you will be sent the relevant information and informed of the mechanism for making your views known. On the basis of the above, talk of industrial action on the matter is therefore premature. In the meantime regular updates will be posted on the website and sent to members via emails, newsletters etc.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at info©ssta.org.uk
With best wishes