01:32 PM March 1, 2022
A number of teachers at a private school in Ipswich went on strike on Tuesday over possible changes to their contracts.
Members of the NASUWT and NEU teaching unions gathered outside the gates of the prestigious Ipswich school in Henley Road, to protest against changes which they say could potentially affect their pensions.
Staff fear the proposed changes will force them out of the Teachers‘ Pension Scheme (TPS).
Principal Nicholas Weaver said the school is concerned that the amount the school will be required to pay into teachers’ pensions will increase significantly.
He says: “Our original proposal was to get out of TPS, but we changed it to a proposal where the teachers stay, but we put limits on affordability.
“That would mean we would walk out if they were breached in the future, but we’re not proposing to remove anyone from TPS.”
However, the representatives of the two unions are not satisfied with this proposal and consider it preventive.
Keith Anderson, NASUWT Regional Organizer, said: “There is no need to change anyone’s contract at this time.
“When the government makes an announcement, it’s time to have other conversations and make decisions.
“But now is not the time to do that. Right now it’s all buts and maybes.”
Craig Tournay Godfrey, Ipswich and South Suffolk District Secretary for the NEU, added: ‘They said that due to the financial burden the school would not be able to afford to stay in TPS , but we have no evidence yet that this will happen.
“Once we find out, we will all come together and help the school if they are in difficulty, to achieve the best result. We will all work together.
Mr. Anderson added: “Teachers don’t go on strike easily. They are really disappointed with their employer, because they would much rather be in school teaching children.
Mr Weaver said: ‘Potential rate hikes in the future are a risk to the school’s finances if it is not something we are dealing with now.’
He said the school and staff were engaged in an ongoing consultation process.