Immediate review of pension scheme sought

The three teachers’ unions have called on the Department of Education and Skills to review the new pension scheme offered to teachers.

At the INTO Congress today in Galway, primary teachers led the call, soon to be followed by the ASTI and the TUI, to look for a review of the pension scheme offered to teachers.

Teachers heard how there has been a substantial deterioration in pension benefits for teachers who have entered service since January 2013 (Republic of Ireland) and April 2015 (Northern Ireland). The value of public service pensions has substantially reduced as a result of changes imposed in the last 15 years.

Teachers have always paid for, and continue to pay for, their pension schemes through deferred income payments. This deferred pay ensures teachers have an income to sustain them in retirement.

Teachers are paying more into their pensions than ever before due to the permanent additional superannuation contribution which came in under the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA). This means teachers are now paying up to 17% of earnings towards their retirement however, the entitlements under the career average pension scheme have been diluted considerably.

The career average scheme, introduced in 2013, eroded the value of teachers’ pensions. The 27 year salary scale in operation for teachers, which is the longest scale in the public service, means that relatively few years of a teacher’s career are spent on the top point of the pay scale. That these teachers are contributing so highly to a pension which will be at most “modest” in retirement is a huge concern for teachers in this new scheme.

The teachers’ unions have signalled any future negotiations on pay must seek to include pension improvements and maintain pension parity for all public service pensions.