Moving the goalposts is unfair

19th November 2004 at 00:00
When Iain Freeland left his job as a surveyor to become a teacher, the pension was one of the things that attracted him to his new job.

The decision cost the29-year-old pound;6,500 a year in salary, but Mr Freeland, now head of humanities at Challenge college in Bradford, felt sure it would be worth it in the long run. "The pension was important when I chose to become a teacher," he said.

"I took quite a big hit when I retrained, but I've always thought of the pension as deferred pay."

Mr Freeland said he would now face his pension being cut by a quarter if he decided to retire at 60, as he originally planned. "This is going to have a major effect, particularly on my age group. We have been teaching for a bit, not expecting any changes, then this happens.

"If somebody changes the rules halfway through, you think, hold on a minute - this isn't fair. They are trying to handcuff us into the profession. I can't see myself teaching that long. I'm going to have to think about alternative provision for a pension."

Mr Freeland said there was a lot of pressure on MPs to listen to teachers'

anger over the proposals.

He said: "They say this is civil service-wide. But at the same time as giving us an effective pay cut, they increase their pension and can retire when they want. It's very cushy for them, on a salary three times that of a standard classroom teacher."

Mr Freeland said he had already been to see the MPs in Bradford as part of a delegation from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. He said they seemed to be impressed by the teachers' arguments. JL

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