Stalemate ends in bitter university pensions row

Image credit Will Tilbrook

The University of Liverpool branch issued a statement which said that members "in our branch and across the country did not join one of the most impressive shows of collective solidarity in the face of restrictive trade union laws for a compromise offer that does not guarantee them decency in retirement".

However, a meeting of union officials from branches nationwide resigned itself to reject the deal on the table, amid strong opposition from its members.

Protesters called on Sally Hunt, general secretary of UCU, to listen to them and to continue the strike.

Union leaders threatened last week to stage another series of strikes during the important exam and assessment period in April and June.

"We want urgent talks with the universities' representatives to try and find a way to get this dispute resolved".

University staff are staging a protest at the UCU headquarters in north London today to show their dissatisfaction with the interim arrangement - where higher contributions would need to be paid for three years from April 2019. Employers' contribution however will rise by only 1.3%.

University staff have rejected a pensions deal that was struck by their union after weeks of strikes. "The jointly developed proposal on the table, agreed at ACAS, addresses the priorities that UCU set out".

'I am writing to tell you that I have asked for and received Council's approval for the University to make higher pension contributions to support a Defined Benefit pension in the USS.We believe the continuation of Defined Benefit is the right short term resolution to the current impasse.

UCU branches across the United Kingdom took to Twitter to declare a mass rejection of the agreement less than 24 hours after it was made public.

The Financial Times has reported that "the settlement, which will have to be approved by UCU members, means the union will now nearly certainly not go ahead with plans, announced last week, to disrupt end-of-year exams with a series of strikes between April and June", adding that 'UCU's branch representatives, the heads of the union's local groups, and its higher education committee will meet on Tuesday to discuss whether formally to call off the strike action.

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.

There would also be an independent evaluation of the pension - after there were disputes over the scale of the funding gap that had to be filled.

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