University staff reject union deal on pensions


Hundreds of thousands of students have missed lectures during the industrial action, which has affected more than 60 universities.

university pensions strike

University staff have rejected a pensions deal that was struck by their union after weeks of strikes.

The response dashes hopes of an end to industrial action that has seen thousands of academics strike in protest at changes the University College Union (UCU) claims would cost them £10,000 a year after retirement.

The UCU agreed on Monday to an interim solution, in which both employers and employees would be required to pay higher pension contributions over a three-year transitional period.

But when it put the proposed deal to union members it was met with outrage.

By Tuesday afternoon every UCU branch had rejected the agreement, more than 5,000 people signed an open letter, and picket lines which have been set up during the strike were packed with protesters.

The hashtag #NoCapitulation was trending on Twitter as staff members and students took to social media to voice their anger.

Students at some universities have joined protests and occupations in support of the strike, drawing attention to broader issues in higher education such as increasing student fees and precarious working conditions for university staff.

university pensions strike cher
The University and College Union claims the changes would cost staff £10,000 a year after retirement

Staff at 64 universities in the UK 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.

The strike action will now continue, resulting in disruption for hundreds of thousands of students who are likely to miss lectures, seminars and assessments.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said “detailed preparations” would be made for strikes during the exam period.

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“Branches made it clear today that they wanted to reject the proposal,” she said.

“UCU’s greatest strength is that we are run by and for our members and it is right that members always have the final say.”

university pensions strike cher


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