UCU Pensions Strike Suspended Before Exam Season | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

UCU Pensions Strike Suspended Before Exam Season

Following an unprecedented 14 days of strikes at 64 universities across the country, the University and College Union (UCU) has voted to suspend industrial action after plans to alter lecturers’ pension schemes were withdrawn

The second wave of strikes was set to start next week and continue into exam season.

In a deal approved by 64% of voting UCU members, the union now plans to enter talks with Universities UK (UUK), the employers’ group that made the initial proposal, to re-evaluate the pension scheme as part of a ‘Joint Expert Panel’.

UCU: We hope this important agreement will hearten workers across the UK fighting to defend their pension rights and was won through the amazing strike action of UCU members

Industrial action will be suspended until the conclusion of these discussions, at which time the UCU will fully withdraw their strike mandate. This mandate currently remains live as a precaution, and so further strike action following any breakdown in negotiations has not been ruled out.

The initial call for strike action stemmed from a UUK plan to replace lecturers’ guaranteed retirement incomes with pension schemes liable to inflation in order to plug an alleged £6bn funding deficit. The UCU estimated that this alteration could have left higher education teaching staff up to £10,000 a year worse off in retirement.

The UUK have agreed not to return to this original proposal during negotiations.

Industrial action saw teaching staff at 64 UK universities go on strike, with only the University of Birmingham and the London School of Economics (LSE) remaining fully open out of the 24 Russell Group institutions. Members of the Birmingham branch of the UCU failed to reach quorum during the internal vote for industrial action in January and so UoB staff had no legal mandate to strike, despite up to 92% of those voters being in favour.

The general secretary of the UCU, Sally Hunt, has said today: ‘The union has come a very long way since January when it seemed that the employers’ proposals for a defined contribution pension were to be imposed’.

UUK: This gives students important reassurance that they won't be affected by further disruption during their summer study and exam period

She added: ‘We hope this important agreement will hearten workers across the UK fighting to defend their pension rights and was won through the amazing strike action of UCU members.

‘UCU has more work to do to ensure that the agreement delivers the security in retirement that university staff deserve. On behalf of all UCU members I want to say thank you to students and other staff for their inspiring support throughout the dispute’.

A spokesperson for UUK also commented: ‘The decision by UCU members to support the creation of a Joint Expert Panel means that strike action is immediately suspended. This gives students important reassurance that they won't be affected by further disruption during their summer study and exam period. ​

‘Reviewing the methodology and assumptions in the current valuation will build confidence, trust and increase transparency in the valuation process. It will provide an opportunity to consider the questions raised about the valuation by scheme members and employers’.

Redbrick News Editor & Elections Editor 2018. 2nd Year BA English Language and Literature. (@ErinSantillo)



Published

13th April 2018 at 10:13 pm



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