UK teachers strike over pensions
Two-thirds of schools in the UK were closed for a day recently as teachers went on strike over proposed changes to pensions. Unions are trying to force the government’s hand during negotiations over contributions to the pension system, which has become unaffordable (there as here in the US) due to rising life expectancy and rules that permit retirement as early as 55.
The UK’s schools minister, Nick Gibb, didn’t mince words in condemning the strike:
Mr Gibb said: “Strikes benefit no-one – they will disrupt pupils’ education, hugely inconvenience parents, and damage teachers’ reputation.
“It’s irresponsible to strike while negotiations are ongoing. Many parents will struggle to understand why schools are closed when the pension deal on the table means that teachers will still be better rewarded than the vast majority of workers in the private sector.
“Reforms to public sector pensions are essential – the status quo is not an option. The cost to the taxpayer of teacher pensions is already forecast to double from £5bn in 2006 to £10bn in 2016, and will carry on rising rapidly as life expectancy continues to improve.
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About the Editor
Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow
Chris Tessone was a Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow and the Director of Finance of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. He has strong interests in governance and education finance, especially teacher compensation and school facilities finance.
May 16, 2013