Vanishing perk

20th June 2003 at 01:00
The news that the Government seems determined to raise the teachers'

"school leaving age" from 60 to 65 will dismay thousands of staff who regard the pensions package as the only important perk that the job has to offer.

It is well-known that private-sector final-salary pension schemes are falling like skittles but most teachers were blithely unaware that their own retirement hopes could be shattered.

Being reasonable people they will acknowledge that the Government has to do something to defuse the "pensions time bomb" created by low birth rates and a huge baby-boomer generation. But like other public-sector workers, teachers can justifiably point out that they have tolerated lower wages than private-sector employees partly because of the retirement-at-60 carrot. Most have also given tacit support to the workload agreement, never dreaming that their working life might be extended by several years. If they feel cheated today, who can blame them?

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