Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Deal struck in university pensions row

Deal struck in university pensions row

The new proposal outlined a transitional arrangement for three years from 1st April 2019, in which levels of detailed benefits (DB) would be maintained for all scheme members up to a salary threshold of £42,000.

UPDATE: The Higher Education Commission has also rejected the deal due to the overwhelming disapproval of the deal from university branches of the UCU.

The motion to oppose the proposed agreement was brought to the HEC by the vice-president of Cambridge UCU, Dr Sam James, who represented the branch.

Staff at 64 universities in the United Kingdom have been intermittently striking since 22 February against proposals to change the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) from a "defined benefit" scheme, which gives workers a guaranteed income in retirement, to a "defined contribution" scheme, in which pensions are subject to fluctuations in the stock market. "This position has been taken following online consultation, which received over 100 individual replies, and an Open Branch Committee meeting in which 150 members participated".

It began over planned changes to the pension, which the University and College Union said could mean a £10,000 per year reduction in retirement income.

Under the third point of their outlined position, Warwick UCU has resolved to continue the present strike programme and potentially escalate industrial action if no settlement is reached.

This evening Warwick UCU also shared a link on Twitter to a petition entitled "Open letter rejecting the UCU/UUK agreement at ACAS".

"After our national meeting with branches, there is equally little doubt that the majority of members wish to reject the proposals as insufficient", Hunt continued.

The UCU has called for further urgent negotiations with the UUK following the withdrawal. It further does so at the very moment we are strongest and able to force a more decisive victory.

Other branches of the UCU including UCL, Cambridge, Oxford and Leeds have also shared their discontent in the Twittersphere, UCL-UCU describing the offer as "hugely detrimental".

"The strike action for this week remains on and we will now make detailed preparations for strikes over the assessment and exam period", she said.

In an email sent to all Cambridge UCU members, branch secretary Waseem Yaqoob wrote: "We are now striking for two things: to prevent a reversion to the unacceptable January imposition that abolished Defined Benefit entirely, and to safeguard our pension scheme in the long term".

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