Lower paid teachers to be protected from pension contributions increase
Teachers on lower rates of salary would be protected from further increases in pension contributions under plans proposed by Education Minister John O’Dowd.
Mr O’Dowd said, “I remain strongly opposed to the British Government’s policy of increasing employee pension contributions to address the structural deficit. I do not believe that public sector pensions should be a means by which the British Government can increase its revenue.
“The British Government has made it clear that if the devolved administration does not implement the increase in pension contributions they will reduce the amount of money in the block grant by around £4.6 million per month during 2013-14.
“Clearly this would result in a significant detrimental impact on the delivery of education and other front-line public services. The Executive has therefore committed to the principle of delivering the targeted level of savings to the cost of public sector pension schemes.
O’Dowd continued, “The Executive is committed to engaging with trades unions to consider a graduated approach which would protect those at the lower end of the pay scale by seeking an increased contribution from those on higher salary within the public sector.
“My Department is now consulting on proposals which at the very least would guarantee that teachers earning less than £26,000 will see no further increase beyond that applied in April 2012. This provides greater protection for the lower paid.
“Last April I decided to increase contribution rates in line with those in Scotland and in England and Wales to ensure that no teacher here pays more than their counterparts in the other teachers’ schemes.
He added, “As I did last year, I am asking key stakeholders to consider proposals that there should be no increase in the contribution rate for teachers earning less than £32,000 a year. I have also included a proposal that teachers earning less than £32,000 a year should revert to the 2011-12 rate of 6.4%.
“I am also prepared to consider any alternative proposals that the teacher unions or other stakeholders may bring forward.
“I remain keen to engage with the teacher unions on these proposals which I believe represent a potential way forward, given the parameters within which the Executive is required to operate.”
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