Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/381/4297
NATFHE votes to ballot on pensions strike
ON 11 FEBRUARY the national executive council of NATFHE decided with only one vote against to ballot members for strike action on 14 April, in opposition to the government's attack on pensions.
In proposing the successful motion, vice-president John Wilkin explained that for new lecturers starting in further and higher education from next year, they would have to work until 65 or, if they accessed their pensions at 60, they would have a 23% cut on current pension rates.
Similarly for lecturers currently in post aged under 52, the 'choice' is between working up to 65 or a 10% cut!
The successful notion was seconded by Andrew Price, Welsh representative for further education and a Socialist Party member. Andrew regretted that NATFHE could not join PCS and UNISON in strike action on 23 March, as most NATFHE members will be on Easter holiday on that date.
However, a successful ballot result should be used by the leadership of NATFHE to persuade other education unions, notably the NUT and AUT members in post-1992 universities to join the action.
NATFHE is the first education union to attempt to mobilise its members to take strike action against the vicious attacks being made by this government on public sector workers' pensions.
If the education unions do not fight, then it is inevitable that the same threat of ending final salary pension schemes that has hit civil servants, NHS and local government workers will come to the teacher's pension scheme. The mobilisation of 70,000 teaching staff in further education colleges and post-1992 universities on 14 April can teach this government a lesson it richly deserves.
- Lecturers at 75 further education colleges have voted overwhelmingly for a one-day strike over pay. Over 75% voted to strike because their colleges have refused to implement the last national pay deal in full. Most of the lecturers will strike on 24 February but some will strike on 1 March because of half-term holidays.
This could be the beginning of an escalating programme of action as lecturers fight to gain pay parity with school teachers.
In The Socialist 19 February 2005: