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Website URL : http://www.ucu.org.uk/5212
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Under Attack - Teachers' Pension

Your pension is under attack: the government wants to change the Teachers' Pension Scheme in a way which will massively reduce the value of your pension in retirement or if you leave education.

UCU calls for rejection of Scottish pension contribution increase

March 2013: UCU is call on the Scottish Parliament's Education and Culture Committee to reject legislation that would increase pension contributions for teachers and lecturers. Labour MSP Neil Findlay has tabled an annulling motion to the Teachers' Superannuation (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2013. UCU is calling for MSPs to back the motion and stop a 1.5% increase in pensions contributions from 1 April: Lecturers call for rejection of pension contribution increase

Teachers' Pensions - latest

The government has now announced the outcome of the consultation on the second year of contribution increases for Teachers Pensions. This represents the second of the three year increases imposed by the government on all public sector pension schemes with the aim of increasing the overall contribution made by members.

What it means for TPS members

The full details are below but in short:

From 1 April

  • Staff earning under £26,000 or full-time equivalent will pay no more than currently.
  • Staff earning £26,000 but under £32,000 will pay 0.6% extra a month.
  • Staff earning £32,000 but under £45,000 will pay 1.2% extra a month.
  • Staff earning more than £45,000 will pay between 2.1% and 2.4% extra per month.

Together with other unions, UCU remains opposed to any increases in pension contributions that are not justified on the grounds of the financial health of the TPS scheme. We deplore the unilateral decision to impose arbitrary increases justified only on purely political grounds without conducting a valuation of the present scheme.

The contribution increases for TPS members are in effect a form of extra taxation to address government debt rather than having anything to do with the costs of pensions and come on top of savings already achieved through:

  • the switch from RPI to CPI valuation of benefits which has reduced the liabilities by approximately 10%
  • the increase in the pension age in line with state pension
  • changes to the scheme which reduce pension values on average by a one third.

Notwithstanding this, UCU does note the revisions to the tiered arrangements for contribution increases that were introduced in response to union concerns. The revised proposals do at least reduce increases for the majority of UCU members that were originally proposed by the government and the addition of the new tier will benefit new entrants to the profession and lower earners.

Like other unions UCU participates in ongoing consultations concerning details of the new scheme to be introduced in April 2015. But at the same time we continue to work alongside the other unions to develop campaign strategies against further increases to contributions and normal pension age.

Contributions for 2013-4

Earnings (£)

Contribution Rate

Increase (against 2012-13)

Below £14,999



£15,000 to £25,999



£26,000 to £31,999



£32,000 to £39,999



£40,000 to £44,999



£45,000 to £74,999



£75,000 to £99,999



£100,000 to £150,999



Remember if you work part time, contributions are based on full-time equivalent salary, not actual earnings.

For further details see teachers pensions website

How do the changes affect you?


10 May: England strike action

UCU members took strike action on 10 May alongside PCS, Unite and other unions.

UCU will join strike action and protests on 10 May

Action 2012 Live! - 10 May 2012

28 March 2012: London strike action

On 28 March the UCU's London TPS members took strike action alongside colleagues from NUT.

Action 2012 Live! - 28 March 2012

 (.doc) file type icon Strike day letter handed to Michael Gove (.doc) [165kb]

Ballot on continuing action - February 2012

Members were asked if they were prepared to take further strike action in the continuing row over government changes to their pensions.

Read the NEC motion here

Relevant documents

The full result of the union's TPS consultative ballot of members, held in early spring 2012, over continuing action can be seen here:

1. Do you support further strike action beginning with a national one day strike on March 28 alongside other unions?

Further Education (England and Wales)
Yes 5,250 (62.9%), No 3,102 (37.1%) Turnout 25.1%
Higher Education (England and Wales)
Yes 3,668 (55.3%), No 2,962 (44.7%) Turnout 31.3%
(STSS) Higher Education (Scotland)
Yes 107 (69.9%), No 46 (30.1%) Turnout 26.7%
(NITPS) Further and Higher Education (Northern Ireland) 
Yes 145 (51.1%), No 139 (48.9%) Turnout 20.6

2. Do you endorse the decision of the NEC to reject the government's final pension proposals and continue the campaign against them?

Further Education (England and Wales)
Yes 7,151 (85.7%), No 1,194 (14.3%) Turnout 25.1%
Higher Education (England and Wales)
Yes 5,276 (79.4%), No 1,367 (20.6%) Turnout 31.3%

To find out more please go to our TPS web site: tps.web.ucu.org.uk

TPS negotiations - UCU statement, 20 Dec 2011

December update from UCU's general secretary, 13 Dec 2011

Message from Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary, 1 Dec 2011

Strike action - 30 November 2011

UCU members were called to take strike action on 30 November 2011 in defence of their pensions schemes.

Following the strike, UCU general secretary Sally Hunt, said:

Quotation : Quotation markThank you for your magnificent support for UCU during yesterday's strike to defend our pensions.

I am sure you will join me too in welcoming the more than 2,500 new members who joined UCU during November so they could take part in the strike alongside you.

Our action together should leave government and employers in no doubt about the importance we attach to protecting our pensions.'

Read more: Message from Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary

30 November - Defend public sector pensions

Call to take strike action: 30 November 2011

Action 2011 Live! - 30 November 2011

UCU members covered by Scottish pension scheme join action

30 November - Defend public sector pensions

 (.pdf) file type icon TPS branch briefing: 30 November strike, Oct 11 (.pdf) [85kb]

 (.pdf) file type icon 30 Nov 11: pensions strike leaflet (.pdf) [31kb]

 (.pdf) file type icon 30 Nov 11: pensions strike poster (.pdf) [23kb]

 (.pdf) file type icon 30 November public sector pensions briefing notes (.pdf) [36kb]

Pensions - mass lobby 26 October

Decent pensions: Securing the future for all

27 October 2011

Many thanks to all our members who joined the thousands of teachers, lecturers and support staff who visited Parliament yesterday to lobby MPs about pension cuts in the education sector. UCU members joined colleagues from all the main teaching unions in the mass lobby, and a petition signed by over 150,000 education workers was presented to the schools minister Nick Gibb, calling for TPS reforms to be scrapped. The unity and resolve shown by primary, secondary and head teachers, college, university and support staff should serve as a wake-up call for the government that time is running out for them to return to negotiations before they face the biggest strike action for decades on 30 November.

Government raid on pensions is a tax on public sector workers

28 July 2011

UCU said that government plans to raid public sector pensions had nothing to do with keeping pension costs down and was simply a tax to raise funds for the Treasury. UCU said the news was another example of the government's failure to negotiate seriously on the pensions issue. UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The government has proved yet again that it is not prepared to negotiate with us in good faith over any changes to pension schemes. Any increases in contributions from members will not aid their retirement; they will raise funds for the Treasury. This is simply a tax on public sector workers': UCU comment on future of public sector pensions

30 June strike

UCU members in England and Wales were called to take one day strike action on 30 June 2011 alongside NUT, ATL and PCS after members at the three unions also voted to take strike action over pensions. Adult Education members employed by local authorities in England and Wales also voted to take strike action.

Following the action, UCU general secretary Sally Hunt wrote to members and said: 

Quotation : Quotation markYesterday was a great day, with UCU members all over the country taking united action with other unions to defend the Teachers' Pension Scheme.

You can see a roundup of the day's action together with plenty of  photos on our Live Action page - thanks to everyone who supported the action and the rallies.'

More on the strike action:

Lecturer spells out pensions misery at London protest

Strong support for strike action as sun shines on picket lines

Clegg must apologise for gold-plated pensions jibe, Sally Hunt will tell crowd

College and university lecturers announce 30 June strike action

College and university lecturers welcome support from school teachers for pensions strike

30 June strike rallies and marches

Unions publish joint letter on strike action

The five teacher unions have released a joint letter explaining strike over pensions and why we are united in protesting against the government's pensions' proposals to make us pay more, work longer and get less in retirement:

 (.pdf) file type icon Defending our pensions to protect education - joint union letter (.pdf) [89kb]

2011 vote for action

UCU members in further education and post-92 higher education institutions voted in 2011 to take strike action over the changes to the Teachers' Pension Scheme. The first strike action on TPS took place on 24 March, the same day as the final, UK day, of USS strikes in HE institutions.

UCU members in England and Wales were also called to take further one-day strike action on 30 June alongside NUT and ATL.

 (.pdf) file type icon Why we're striking over TPS - leaflet (.pdf) [26kb]

 (.pdf) file type icon Defend your pension: TPS branch briefing (.pdf) [41kb]

Ballot results - NITPS, adult education and STSS members to join the strike action

Later in 2011 members in the Northern Ireland Teachers' Pension Scheme, adult education members in the Teachers' Pension Scheme and members in the Scottish Teachers' Superannuation Scheme voted to take strike action over detrimental changes to their schemes. You can find the scrutineers' reports below, and here for the STSS result.


Pension changes in 2007 and 2008

Your pension was only changed as recently as 2007-8, with members paying more and waiting longer to take their pension if they were new into the scheme. These changes also had a 'cap and share' agreement in them to ensure they remained affordable. The changes gave savings to the government:TPS changes 2007 and 2008

TUC and other teacher unions

UCU is working with the TUC and other teacher unions as well as pensioners organizations in lobbying and publicising the attack.

UCU believes your Teachers' Pension is worth fighting for.

This is only the start of the attack on your pension, pay and jobs it is important that you explain this to your colleagues and get them involved.

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