Pensions protest is too feeble

18th February 2005 at 00:00
Given the Government's plans to work us until we drop, by raising the pension age from 60 to 65, it is surprising to see the inaction of the major teaching unions.

While the civil and public service unions have a concerted plan to fight the raising of the pension age, including industrial action, teacher unions can only contemplate possible action.

One has to question whether this is a cynical attempt to wait and watch while the civil and public service unions test the water, or a politically motivated move not to upset the Government before the next election.

As a National Union of Teachers' representative in a state secondary school, with no particular political axe to grind, I am amazed at their inaction.

Pensions are fundamental to the conditions of service of every teacher. If unions cannot or will not act on this critical issue, one has to question their value other than as insurance agents.

With this inaction the NUT, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers are failing to meet the demands and concerns of their members. When asked by members of the CPS unions where teachers stand on the issue and what we are doing about it, the reply of "we are contemplating action" is hardly supportive.

Why are our unions so reluctant to act on such a major issue in concert with the civil service unions?

Failure at this level makes my NUT subscription appear to be merely expensive insurance. It is an insurance policy I feel increasingly less likely to renew.

Mr BA Waite 91 Kensington Road Reading, Berkshire

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