1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Continue with union payments?

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by Oldbutnotreally, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. Oldbutnotreally

    Oldbutnotreally New commenter

    Having just retired I'm sorting out all my direct debits to make sure finances are all in order! Is it worth continuing with my union subs? It's around £35 a month and I'm not sure if it's needed now. What does everyone think?
  2. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I stopped mine straightaway. There is an argument for keeping it up for legal support if anything from the past rears up to strike out at you but really, how paranoid is that. This is part of letting go.
    catmother and FrankWolley like this.
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    There's an argument for keeping up membership for a year or two post retirement in case an allegation is made against you after you have retired, just like any similar type of insurance. Union will only help if you are a member at the time the allegation is made. That's not needed indefinitely though, the further you get from retirement the less likely it is any allegation will be made.

    What union are you in? Unions and professional bodies often offer continuing membership to retired members at a fraction of the cost it was before retirement. eg from NEU website:

    Retired members

    Retired members from both sections of the NEU will continue to play a vital role in much of the union’s work. Retired membership of the NEU is set at £20 per annum with no local fee payable.
    1970devon and PeterQuint like this.
  4. asnac

    asnac Established commenter

    £35? Ouch! I assume that's NAHT.

    Unions are poor value even during your working life. This would be particularly expensive if it's just a post-employment insurance policy.

    But if you do want that extra assurance for a few years, then NAHT reduce the fee to £36 pa but only after the first year of retirement.
  5. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    It is also worth thinking about whether you have legal cover via another route, such as home insurance. If you are fully retired, then the only thing I can see to be worried about is allegations leading to prosecution or a claim for damages. I am not sure how much a union can offer in such circumstances, as I don't know of it happening.

    For what it is worth, I paid the retired rate for a couple of years after I retired.

    If you see them just as an insurance policy they are the same as any other policy - bad value most of the time but excellent value if you need them. But many people think they have value as they stand up for teachers and help them get better conditions. Of course, the more people there are who won't stand with their colleagues, the less the unions can do.
    emerald52 and PeterQuint like this.
  6. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    A further thought on continuing to pay union sub in retirement.

    When employed the union sub is tax deductible. But I don't think it is when you have retired if you have no income from any employment, only pension income. That's because HMRC requires your tax deductible expenses in any tax year must be matched against income from employment received in the same tax year.

    However, if you did anything vaguely education-related after retirement - a bit of invigilation say - you should be able to claim tax deduction on the retired members subscription.

    Disclaimer: I've never actually seen specific rules about this, it's just my take on it! I am not a qualified tax advisor :) Not that HMRC is likely to start a tax investigation over the £4 pa tax saving a basic rate tax payer would gain on a £20 pa sub.
    PeterQuint likes this.
  7. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Me too. Parents/pupils at my school were not shy about complaining,so any issue would have already been dealt with! If I ever decide to do supply work (only a dire need for money would make me do it),I can just join again.
  8. Oldbutnotreally

    Oldbutnotreally New commenter

    Many thanks for all your advice. I'm in the NAHT and it is quite expensive. However, if it reduces after a year it seems there's a possible case for hanging on to it for a little longer. It is as everyone says - insurance just in case the worst happens! Thanks everyone.
  9. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    I’m in a real in between situation.

    I’m 54, and have just been made redundant.

    I’m 55 next year.

    I’m going to work in a school, but in a non-teaching, pastoral role.

    I’m presuming I can’t stay in the NASUWT, as I won’t be a teacher, though I stand to be corrected.

    I presume there’ll be a new union to join, which I’ll certainly want to do.

    But what if an allegation is made from my old job? I’m sure the new union won’t cover it. I’m not sure either union will be happy with me being in two unions at once.

    What should I do?
  10. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    By the way, when faced with redundancy, I did everything through my union.

    They managed to negotiate a position where I could take redundancy, and a new job. If I’d tried that alone I’d have been taken to the cleaners.

    They saved me the best part of 25 grand, and that’s quite apart from the ‘cover’ they provided over my teaching career.

    Money aside, I can’t begin to imagine the value if the stress they prevented over the last year of my career as redundancy was looming.
  11. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I don't know about NASUWT, but the NEU accept support staff. My wife (Exams Officer) was a member of ATL before the merger. https://neu.org.uk/neu-membership-eligibility

    I have not heard of a situation where an allegation emerges after somebody has switched unions and neither union will take it on. Worth asking before joining perhaps?
    PeterQuint likes this.
  12. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Ask your current union if they would cover you in your new role?
    PeterQuint likes this.
  13. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter


    35 quid a month...strewth that's 420 quid a year...

    For comparison the 2019 annual subs for 2 large unions are :

    NUT STANDARD £186.66

    NASWUT £185.40 (or £186.40 With Political Fund apparently)

    ATL £206

    These rate are for full time or nearly full.

    As others have already intimated on here. You would be most unwise to cancel you union fees immediately. Especially when the UK police have been actively encouraging people to make allegations.

    Read this BBC news article for some sobering points


    What foolish words. They are only poor value in hindsight if you never call upon them. Many folks could say the same about their insurance policy payments over the years.
    False allegations are still being made.

    Of course, I blame Thatcher for corrupting the thinking of the UK towards unions and collectivism.
    Dorsetdreams and Piranha like this.
  14. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    Haven't read the whole thread thoroughly through, BUT contact the union as if you are earning less, you pay less and I think they may have a cheaper subscription for pensioners etc.
  15. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    My union, NAHT, charges one year’s contributions (around the £35 month mentioned depending on your exact role) for one year to qualify for Life Membership. Thereafter it used to be free but they now charge an annual fee of under £40. If you continue with part time teaching or supply you can pay a little more to have that covered too.

    Well worth continuing to gain Life Membership in my view. You never know what someone might throw your way. You certainly don’t need to pay your old full rate. Other unions may differ.
    Startedin82 likes this.
  16. lynneseptember

    lynneseptember Senior commenter

    When I went on supply, my subscriptions were reduced considerably. When I take my pension next year, I will be in touch again as they will be reduced further. I have toyed with stopping them, but I'll keep on for a couple more years, I think. You never know...
  17. Oldbutnotreally

    Oldbutnotreally New commenter

    Thanks Sundaytrekker, that's excellent news. £40 a year sounds a lot better than £35 a month! There's also the reassurance of knowing support is there if needed. Thanks everyone for all your advice.
  18. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I have to say the thought of paying a single penny to a Union after retirement never crossed my mind - if someone I taught years ago made a false accusation against me, I'd want the support of my own solicitor (one I chose, not the Union), and if it was something that might get be banned from teaching, not a criminal matter...well I'm retired, so I couldn't care less.
    BelleDuJour likes this.
  19. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    It is not just the legal. Those falsely accused get death threats amongst other unpleasantries.


    Mr Warr says he received threatening emails. A Facebook post said if he killed himself it would be the "best Christmas present ever".

    By that stage, Mr Warr adds: "I wasn't eating, I wasn't sleeping. I was a wreck."
  20. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Having Union support won't stop that.

    NB Quite frankly I am amazed any teacher continues Union membership after retiring... Wasting their pension!
    border_walker and Piranha like this.

Share This Page