It’s no secret the current situation has put all of us workers in a dire situation. The government and its now clear and dangerous policy of herd immunity has exposed all of us to a catastrophic scenario in regards to the health situation. Teachers have been particularly exposed (although we are by no means the worst off, luckily) and they are now coming under attack once again.
This time, it’s private school educators who are coming under more fire. A lot of independent schools have recently been looking at axing their participation in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS), which is admittedly one of the greatest long-term benefits the profession has to offer. Indeed, it pretty much guarantees a decent and liveable retirement once a worker has completed their career.
The government has recently increased schools’ participation to the TPS, leading to an increased cost of the scheme for private schools in particular. Private schools’ participation to the scheme is a matter of choice, one that most institutions used to make without thinking twice. Now, however, with the current economic crisis, TPS is under threat, and it’s not surprising that schools are starting to act with a lack of care or interest for education workers in general.
Whilst some school may claim the costs are too high, we must keep in mind private institutions are only accessible to and paid for by the most privileged. As such, pulling out of the TPS (particularly without due and meaningful consultation) would be motivated only by cost-cutting and a disdain for lower-class workers. Offering better conditions of life for workers should never be a luxury, it should be a given, regardless of the costs or how it affects a bottom line.
The IWW strongly condemns and opposes pulling out of the TPS and we join the NEU in their opposition to this idea. This is one more attack on teachers who have been bearing the brunt of this pandemic and are on the frontline every day, regardless of the risks. As a reminder, it was recently discovered that COVID infection rates are up by 333% with teachers, highlighting the dire situation they have to face despite the government’s constant gaslighting about the safety of schools. This decision would be of no benefit to them, quite the opposite. Through collective action and collaboration with larger education unions, we hope to achieve success in fighting this policy should the need arise in a given school. The IWW can provide advice on how to fight administrations that would be looking to axe their participation to the TPS or take any other action detrimental to their wellbeing. Members of the IWW can fight this decision at their workplace but collective action is always more effective and a united front will always be the best way to face your bosses. Individual workers can create that united front by joining the IWW and get their colleagues to join.
In solidarity to all teachers and all workers fighting every day for a better workplace
Contact the Education Workers Industrial Union at education [at] iww [dot] org [dot] uk