A WEEK or so ago, we noted that four teaching unions (1) were thinking of taking industrial action sometime in Spring.
This was in response to the Con-Dem governments attack on their pensions scheme. Here, Cameron and Clegg want teachers to work longer, pay more towards their pension plan yet get less when they finally retire.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT), the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) and Undeb Cenedlaethal Athrawon Cymru (UCAC) represent around 80 per cent of workers affected by the government-proposed Teachers Pension Scheme.
Initially, Thursday 1 March was mooted as the day on which industrial action concerning pensions would take place. However, this may now be put back towards the end of March. This is to coincide with possible industrial action by other public service unions who find themselves in the same boat.
Already, the Health National Industrial Sector Committee of Unite has “agreed to continue dialogue with other unions to coordinate a campaign strategy” in respect of the pensions dispute. This union strategy could include “possible nationally coordinated strike action on 28th or 29th March.”
All in all, it’s looking increasingly likely that more than a million over teachers, civil servants, council staff and NHS employees will be walking out next month.
This new strike may also include Firefighters – who were not involved in the last November’s walk out. The Fire Brigades Union is said to be making plans to ballot its 45,000 members, again citing pensions as the main reason for their anger:
“We believe these proposals to be unacceptable in that they include unaffordable and unfair contribution rates, a totally unrealistic retirement age for firefighters, and an unsustainable scheme for the fire service.”