Monday, 2 May 2011

Teachers' pensions

I have little sympathy for the headteachers' union that has decided on a strike ballot strike in protest against changes to their pension arrangements, and nor, I suspect, will the public in general.

Some reflections on pensions have already been given in my post on 14th March
In this case I presume that any changes will affect pensions to be to be earned as from the implementation of new rules rather than entitlements already accrued. If that is the case then I think it is perfectly sensible to switch from a final salary scheme to a pension related to earnings over a working life, and to adjust contributions and retirement age to pay for this. If the figures given in the Guardian (30th April) are accurate, viz:

"The pension reforms would mean the average headteacher would lose £100 000 to £200 000 in retirement and would pay 50% more in contributions , which could cost them £1 000 more each month."

then the reaction of most people, and especially those on the minimum wage, will be "You're so lucky" rather than sympathy.

To repeat the sentiments of my earlier post, the purpose of a pension is to avoid penury when one's earning life is over, not to sustain the life of Riley or to buy advantages for one's children and grandchildren.

The government should stick to its guns and headteachers and other highly paid public servants should get a sense of proportion.

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