Teachers ‘could be left with world’s worst pensions’

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They fear that the Island will struggle to recruit and retain teachers if the proposals come into force and say that they are not in the best interests of the education service in Jersey.

In a joint letter to the Director of Education, Tom McKeon, representatives of six teaching organisations say that, in particular, ‘the changes proposed for new teachers will result in what is almost certainly the worst occupational pension provision for teachers in Europe and the developed world’.

They are asking for the introduction of the changes to be deferred by nine months.

Martin Freedman is the head of pay conditions and pen-sions at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

He said that his association was in total agreement with the other national tea-ching associations and unions.

‘We do not like these proposed changes and we want proper dis- cussions with the States regarding them,’ he said.

Mr Freedman added that the changes would be a major disincentive to teachers considering taking up a position in the Island and that the scheme was far inferior to those in place on the mainland.

‘There has been a consultation period, in which our association made its views clear, as did the other associations,’ said Mr Freedman.

‘However, we all feel so strongly about this matter that we have sent a joint letter asking for the changes to be reconsidered.’ The letter was signed by the general secretaries of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, the National Association of Head Teachers, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, the National Union of Teachers, the University and College Union and the Association of College Management.

‘While we have made individual responses to the proposed changes to the teachers’ superannuation arrangements in Jersey, our concerns are so serious that we are in addition making a joint response,’ they said.

In the letter, they pointed out that the changes ran ‘completely counter to the changes that have been agreed for England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man’ and would have ‘a serious and growing adverse impact upon Jersey’s ability to recruit and retain teachers’.

The associations and unions believe that the proposed changes ‘remain rooted in the proposals originally made in the late 1980s and completely fail to take into account the major changes now being implemented in the UK’.

They are therefore asking the States to defer their introduction from January 2007 to September to allow for an urgent joint review of the proposals.

‘Very few new teachers will be appointed prior to 1 September 2007, and the cost of such a deferment is therefore negligible,’ they say.

‘It would, however, provide a valuable opportunity to review what we believe are ill-considered proposals and allow time to consider alternative proposals which would better meet the needs of the education service in Jersey and its teachers.’ Mr McKeon was unavailable for comment.

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