Hutchesons’ Grammar teachers set to ballot over pensions
Teachers at Hutchesons’ Grammar, an independent school in Glasgow are set to ballot for industrial action over a pension scheme dispute, the Glasgow Evening Times has reported.
Hutchesons’ Grammar caters to children aged three to 18 years old.
The NASUWT union claims Hutchesons’ Grammar is proposing withdrawing staff from the Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme to enrol them in an “inferior plan”.
Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary, said: “These unjustified plans are short-sighted, will hit morale and leave teachers significantly worse off when they retire. We are moving to ballot members at Hutchesons’ Grammar School for industrial action unless the employer withdraws these proposals and demonstrates it values its staff.”
Mike Corbett, NASUWT national official for Scotland, added: “The vast majority of teachers have told Hutchesons’ Grammar School through the consultation process that they oppose these plans and the majority of our members refused to sign the contract variation letter they were issued. Pensions are in effect deferred salary and it is unacceptable that hard-working teachers face uncertainty and the threat of greater financial insecurity in retirement as a result of the enforced downgrading of their pensions. We do not believe these changes can be justified.”
A spokesperson for Hutchesons’ Grammar School said: “Our teaching staff are highly valued and are our school’s greatest asset, providing excellent academic and pastoral support to our pupils and all decisions taken by the board of governors are taken in the best interests of staff, pupils and parents.
“Sadly, recent increases to the Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme employer costs have impacted on our expenditure and with further increases expected next year, the governors believe this future increase would make it less sustainable as they wish to keep Hutchesons’ affordable to as many families as possible.
“During the collective consultation we engaged with the teacher representatives and answered the teachers’ questions. The minority of teachers, who haven’t yet agreed the change, are now being offered individual consultation meetings, which they can attend with a colleague, where they can raise any personal concerns.
“The proposal to withdraw from the STPS was not taken lightly and the governors understand the strength of feeling amongst our teachers. Our governors care deeply about the wellbeing of the teachers and would not have put forward these proposals unless they felt they were absolutely necessary to support the long-term sustainability of the school.
“Throughout the consultation process the senior leadership team and governors have listened to staff, have answered their questions and sought to address any concerns.
“The board of governors, senior leadership team and many of our staff do not believe industrial action is in the best interests of the school, teachers or pupils. We are currently in communication with the NASWUT, who represent 10 of our teachers, and we are surprised that they have taken this action prior to the conclusion of those discussions and the individual consultations.”