Teaching staff at the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) will now be able to stay in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) until 30 September 2023 and receive a pay rise, in an updated offer from the employer.
Teachers, who are members of the National Education Union (NEU), went on strike on 10 February and 23 February, with more days of action planned for 24 February, 1 March, 2 March and 3 March. A formal strike ballot showed overwhelming opposition to the employer’s plan to withdraw from the TPS.
The GDST originally wanted to place teachers on an alternative flexible pension plan, but the NEU said this would mean teachers are “at least 20% worse off on average” in terms of annual pension payments.
GDST trustees have considered feedback gathered during the 18-week collective consultation and amended their original proposal.
The GDST said in a statement: “Under the proposal, teaching staff will now stay within the TPS for a longer period until 30th September 2023, a full 2 years from the start of collective consultation, and all GDST staff in independent schools will be awarded a pay rise. This pay rise and commitment to pay progression for our teachers is for the long-term, not a ‘short term financial sweetener’ as the NEU has suggested.”
It continued: “A strong alternative scheme to the TPS is being proposed with a 20% employer contribution alongside other benefits. The new scheme includes an option under which teachers could expect a drawdown pension to match or exceed their TPS pension beyond average life expectancy, even with investment returns some way below those the NEU uses in its own pension projections.
“The Trustees have a legal duty to secure the GDST’s future and deliver on its charitable mission to reach as many girls as possible. They have concluded that the additional annual financial burden of £6m created by increased TPS costs is unsustainable and therefore the GDST cannot remain within the scheme indefinitely.
“Continued membership of the TPS would prevent the GDST from having control over its finances and developing the total reward it can provide to its staff, including pay rises.”
Our members aren’t interested in @GDST‘s latest attempt to cut their pensions and make them agree a lesser pension. Picket lines strong and hundreds expected in Parliament Square at 1pm. #23together pic.twitter.com/k6HcjBM4l8
— National Education Union (@NEUnion) February 23, 2022
Many GDST teachers are on strike today and tomorrow