INCREASING the state pension age was rejected by delegates at the annual conference of teachers’ union NASUWT yesterday.
Teachers voted against any further rise beyond the age of 68, and spoke of the devastating effect that government changes to pensions since 2011 have had on quality of life in retirement.
Union general secretary Chris Keates said: “Any increase to the state pension age would mean teachers having to work for even longer before being able to access their pension.
“This is at a time when the workload demands of teaching are resulting in rising numbers being forced to take early retirement due to stress and burnout and when record numbers of younger teachers are already opting out of saving for retirement.”
Older teachers also spoke about the “vandalism of people’s careers” in their experiences of discrimination based on their age.
Keith Page, from north Tyneside, said that employers save money by targeting middle-aged and older teachers for redundancies.
Faye Mylward, a teacher from Hampshire, spoke out against these targeted redundancies.
She said that management must be imaginative and positive about its employment of older workers rather than “despising and debasing that expertise.
“We’re not celebrated, but shown the door. What a waste. How shortsighted. It’s a sorry tale of mismanagement, a vandalism of people’s careers. Worse still, it is an abuse of their mental health.”
In a debate about NASUWT’s dispute with the government over teaching job losses, ex-president Kathy Wallis condemned the hoarding of £2.1 billion in education funding held in reserves.
She said: “We should be using these reserves: they are not for gathering interest in a bank vault.”