Two-thirds of schools in the UK were closed for a day recently as
teachers went on strike over proposed changes to pensions. Unions are
trying to force the government’s hand during negotiations over
contributions to the pension system, which has become unaffordable
(there as here in the US) due to rising life expectancy and rules that
permit retirement as early as 55.
The UK’s schools minister, Nick Gibb, didn’t mince words in condemning the strike:
Mr Gibb said: “Strikes benefit no-one – they will disrupt
pupils’ education, hugely inconvenience parents, and damage teachers’
“It’s irresponsible to strike while negotiations are ongoing. Many
parents will struggle to understand why schools are closed when the
pension deal on the table means that teachers will still be better
rewarded than the vast majority of workers in the private sector.
“Reforms to public sector pensions are essential – the status quo is
not an option. The cost to the taxpayer of teacher pensions is already
forecast to double from £5bn in 2006 to £10bn in 2016, and will carry
on rising rapidly as life expectancy continues to improve.