POLITICS
29/08/2011 02:55 BST | Updated 28/10/2011 06:12 BST

Mary Bousted, General Secretary Of The Association of Teachers and Lecturers Warns Of More Strikes

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- The leader of one of the country's largest teachers' unions has warned of the possibility of further strike action over public sector pension reforms as the start of the new school year looms.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, told The Independent newspaper her union "may well be in the position where we have to take further action" later this term.

The ATL, which represents 160,000 education professionals across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, staged the first national strike in its history on June 30 over government plans to increase teachers' pension contributions.

Dr Bousted said the ATL was committed to negotiating a deal with politicians, but said the Coalition's move to go ahead with introducing the rise from next March was "provocative".

"I don't want to be too much of a Jeremiah and say we will repeat the strike action," she added.

"After all, June was the first action we had taken in 27 years so we definitely believe it is the last resort."

The proposed changes to the pensions of public sector workers, put forward in a government-commissioned report by Labour peer Lord Hutton, also include raising the retirement age for state employees to 66 by 2020 and reducing final salary pensions.

Dr Bousted also warned of more teacher redundancies over the coming school year as a result of budget cuts.