The island’s teachers are being briefed about the possible implications of breaking away from the English pension scheme.
A series of regional meetings, starting this week, have been organised to outline the proposal to bring teachers’ pensions in line with the Manx Government’s unified scheme and plans to negotiate pay and conditions in the island.
It comes as teaching unions in England have announced strike action over changes to their pay, pensions and conditions.
ATL island branch secretary Andrew Shipley said: ‘Changes are occurring to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme in England from 2015, which are a worsening of the present terms and conditions.
‘ATL sum this up as “pay more, get less, work longer”.
‘There has been discussion about whether we should stick with the revised Teachers’ Pension Scheme as it will be, or seek to go with the Government Unified Scheme.
‘A decision needs to be made by the end of this term as the Public Sector Pensions Authority will have to undertake major pieces of work whichever way things go.’
Public Sector Pensions Authority chief executive Ian Murray gave presentations at Ramsey Grammar School on Tuesday followed by Ballakermeen High School the following day. Presentations take place at Queen Elizabeth II High School on Tuesday and Castle Rushen High School on September 26.
Both Mr Shipley and NUT island branch secretary Karl Flint believe statistics show it would be best for teachers to retain the link with England.
Mr Flint said any gains from breaking away were likely to be temporary and there would be ‘long-term losses’.
But it will be up to teachers to reach a collective decision on what they think is the best way forward.
Originally, the proposal only concerned teachers’ pensions. But the Council of Ministers advised that a condition of joining the Government Unified Scheme would be for pay and terms and conditions to be negotiated on island.
Mr Flint urged teachers to attend a presentation, saying: ‘It’s in the interest of all teachers to get to one of the meetings.’
Changes to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme in England include an increase in teachers’ contributions to pensions, a move from final salary to career average for future service, and a rise in retirement age.
The Department of Education and Children employs 822 teachers (733.04 full-time equivalent).