Stiking teachers

SIR - I was struck by your report of “unprecedented numbers” on strike in Sidmouth last Thursday.

Closing every school in the country to celebrate the Royal Wedding is one thing, but for our government to do it again, within two months, by attacking our teachers is a step too far.

While swimming across Sidmouth Bay, I calculated that recent government revisions to pension increments mean that my Teacher’s Pension will be reduced by a total of �60k if I live to 87 and my state pension by an additional �40k, a total equivalent to an extra �100 of tax every week over the next 20 years - on contributions that I have made in good faith over the previous 40 years.

But the next generation of teachers face far worse treatment: 50% increase in their pension contributions, with a lower final pension, after working an extra eight years.

As the young teachers who are joining the NUT in vast numbers say, they may live a little longer on average than their grandparents, but they will still be 68 years old.

Do we really want children to be taught full-time by people older than I am?

And there is no evidence that the current pension arrangements for teachers are in any way unaffordable.

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The scheme pays for itself if you don’t make it unviable by driving out young teachers who also have to pay off student loans, and by preventing teachers in independent schools from participating.

Education used to be a gift from one generation to the next. It is being turned into a commodity produced by wage-slaves to make a profit.

I hope the government will see sense when they return to the negotiating table. If not, they risk losing the goodwill of the parents and grandparents of Sidmouth.

Robert Crick

2 Glenisla Terrace,

Sidmouth, Devon