Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Strikes to continue as UCU reject proposed deal

Strikes to continue as UCU reject proposed deal

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.

The change was an attempt to address a funding gap in the scheme. Without ending accrual, the trustees expected the deficit would be £7.5bn on the same measure, but with a more moderate approach to investment risk. This includes a total employer contribution of 19.3% of salaries and a total member contribution of 8.7%.

Any earnings over DB threshold will be pensionable at a 12% contribution rate into a defined contribution (DC) element of the scheme. Indexation revaluation will be reduced from CPI capped at 10% to CPI capped at 2.5% per annum, while death-in-service and ill-health benefits will be revised to the new accrual rate.

The document also points out that 'given the concerns raised by some employers and UCU about the scheme's valuation methodology and assumptions an agreement has been reached between UCU and UUK to convene an independent expert valuation group.UCU and UUK jointly agree to form an independent expert group on valuation with an independent chair, involving academics and pension professionals, and liaising with USS.

Employers and union leaders have struck a deal on reforming United Kingdom university pensions, raising hopes that strike action which is into its fourth week could soon be suspended.

Fears are mounting that the deal struck between university union leaders and employers will be rejected amid anger and opposition to the proposals among staff.

UCU said that the deal would be considered by its higher education committee and branch representatives on 13 March and, if they back the deal, strike action now under way at 65 universities would be suspended as of 14 March.

The letter proceeds to describe the current transitional benefit arrangement as "kick [ing] a serious solution to the pension agreement into the long grass... at the very moment we are strongest and able to force a more decisive victory".

It stated: "In three years time we will be demobilised and pressured to accept a worse deal. In our opinion, we should keep going and throw UUK's offer out altogether".

"Liverpool UCU call on all branches to reject this unacceptable offer and demand that UCU ensure a deal is brought about that is commensurate to the sacrifice of their members", the branch said.

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