ASTI to seek access for teachers to more generous pension scheme

Teachers’ conference told recent entrants are disadvantaged by pay and pension terms

Delegates backed calls for negotiations with the Government for the restoration of the pension scheme for all teachers that was in place up to 2004. File photograph: iStock

Delegates backed calls for negotiations with the Government for the restoration of the pension scheme for all teachers that was in place up to 2004. File photograph: iStock

 

Second-level teachers are to seek access for all to a more generous pension scheme that was in place nearly 20 years ago.

Delegates at the annual conference of the ASTI on Wednesday backed calls for negotiations with the Government for the restoration of the pension scheme for all teachers that was in place up to 2004.

Delegate Daniel Howard said he was a recent entrant to the teaching profession but was disadvantaged in relation to both pay and pensions.

He said while the conference had debated widely on the issue of the two-tier pay system and casualisation in the profession, he wanted to highlight that he and other recent entrants were also on an inferior pension scheme compared to longer-serving colleagues.

Mr Howard said the 2013 single public service pension scheme was another example of financial inequality for teachers such as himself.

He said in the interest of equality he proposed that the ASTI would seek the restoration of an earlier pension scheme that was in place before 2004.

The 2013 revised public service pension scheme was one of a number of reforms to terms and conditions introduced by the then Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin. The revised 2013 scheme was aimed at reducing projected annual expenditure on public service pension in the decades ahead by 35 per cent or €1.8 billion.

Governments since 2013 have indicated they have no plans to reverse these pension changes.

Mr Howard told the conference: “I am of a cohort of teachers , the majority of whom are far worse off financially compared to previous cohorts. I struggle to pay high rents and have no prospect of ever buying a house. Attempting to save money is impossible as my salary is completely eaten up by the high cost of living. In the work place promotions are few and far between compared to other public sector occupations. How posts are allocated is also unfair.

“I am fortunate that I have full-time hours but many of my cohort do not. I do the same work for not only less pay but also for a smaller pension, retiring, most likely, at the age of 68 in the year 2055.”

Mr Howard said the revised pension scheme introduced across the public service in 2013 differed starkly from the 2004 arrangement. He said teachers were most disadvantaged from the 2013 pension scheme due to their 25-point salary scale and due to fewer opportunities for promotions when compared with, for example, teachers and gardaí.

He said the single pension scheme introduced across the public service in 2013 was based on an average of a teacher’s salary over their career adjusted annually for inflation.

Mr Howard said the 2004 pension scheme was based on years of service plus the final salary and this resulted in a higher pension in retirement.

“By contract teachers like myself pay more into our pensions while receiving less on retirement.”

“We have constantly seen pensions being pared back over the decades. Will we see a situation in a few years in which the Government will introduce an even worse pension scheme for a future teaching cohort?”