University staff reject union deal on pensions

University staff reject union deal on pensions

University staff reject union deal on pensions

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.

University staff who have been on strike across the United Kingdom for 10 days have expressed their dissatisfaction with a deal between employers and union bosses in a bitter dispute over pensions.

The proposed changes to pensions would be put on hold - and a temporary deal would tackle the deficit, with plans for new long-term pension arrangements from 2020.

"The strike action for this week remains on and we will now make detailed preparations for strikes over the assessment and exam period", said Sally Hunt, the leader of the University College Union.

"We've had some great support over the past few days".

"We want urgent talks with the universities' representatives to try and find a way to get this dispute resolved". During this time the DB accrual terms would have been reduced and discussions would take place about the possible introduction of a risk-sharing model such as collective defined contribution (CDC). Any staff earning above that threshold would have accrued additional benefits in a defined contribution scheme.

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Contributions from universities and staff would increase during the transition period, to 19.3 per cent for employers and 8.7 per cent for employees (currently 18 per cent and 8 per cent respectively).

USS members are now down to be on strike for all of this week over UUK's original proposals for pension reforms, which UCU says would leave the typical lecturer £10,000 worse off every year in retirement. "The jointly developed proposal on the table, agreed at ACAS, addresses the priorities that UCU set out".

In a brief statement on Twitter, UCU said the deal had been sent to members yesterday evening, while its higher education committee and branch representatives would meet to discuss it today.

In addition to the benefit proposals, the parties had agreed to the establishment of an independent committee to scrutinise the valuation methods used for USS.

UUK had hoped to effectively close the scheme to future accrual by reducing the salary threshold from £55,500 to £0 from April in order to stem the growth of a bitterly-contested £6.1bn funding deficit, based on the scheme's closure.

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