30/01/2012 05:58 GMT | Updated 30/01/2012 08:18 GMT

Pension Reforms: ATL Teaching Union Becomes First To Accept Controversial Deal

A teaching union has become the first to accept the government's controversial pension changes, it has been announced.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers, which represents 160,000 teachers, revealed the decision on Monday, after fellow teachers' union NASUWT rejected the reforms earlier this month. The ATL said the move followed the results of a poll of members in which 91.6% of respondents voted in favour of the proposals.

ATL president Alice Robinson said: "ATL members are realists. They recognise how tough times are and that the government is determined not to give any further ground.

"Although the government's final offer does not give us everything we wanted, it is the best deal we could get in the current economic climate.

"And members do not want a significantly worse deal imposed on them if they rejected this one."

Public protests on 30 November last year, which saw thousands of teachers down tools and take to the streets to demonstrate their opposition to the government's proposals. Despite this, the remaining teaching unions have yet to make a decision over the reforms, which would see, among other changes, the pension age rise to 67.

A Department for Education spokesman said they welcomed the announcement.

"The deal on the table reflects teachers' and heads' arguments about what's most important to the profession, particularly around early retirement.

"It's a fair deal which strikes the right balance - guaranteeing teachers a good future pension but keeping long-term costs firmly under control."