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BREAKING: University and College Union (UCU) members accept proposals in pensions dispute

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) have accepted a proposal by Universities UK (UUK) over the university pensions dispute, with 64% accepting the offer and 36% rejecting it.

The industrial action is now set to be suspended whilst an independent panel of experts review the valuation of the scheme.

Prior to this, there was a second wave of strikes which were expected to begin next week and would have continued into May and June. However, despite all planned strike action being suspended, it has been reported that UCU will keep its strike mandate live as a precaution.

“USS, the regulator and government now need to ensure that UCU and UUK have the space to implement the agreement effectively”

UCU General Secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘Members have participated in record numbers in the consultation, with a clear majority voting to accept the proposals. 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.

‘Now we have [an] agreement to move forward jointly, looking again at the USS valuation alongside a commitment from the employers to a guaranteed, defined benefit scheme. USS, the regulator and government now need to ensure that UCU and UUK have the space to implement the agreement effectively.

‘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.

“We hope the new expert panel can agree [on] a pension valuation that gives all parties confidence”

‘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 from the University of Nottingham told Impact:

“This is a welcome decision which means that strike action is immediately suspended and gives students important reassurance that they won’t be affected by further disruption during their summer study and exam period. We appreciate that no one has wanted to disrupt our students learning, and recognise that this has been a challenging time across our University community.

“We hope the new expert panel can agree [on] a pension valuation that gives all parties confidence, and wish our UCU and UUK colleagues every success in negotiating in a pension scheme which is generous, fair and sustainable for staff now and in the future.”

Sarah Lindgarde

Featured image courtesy of ‘Shamraze/Nuhaize’ via Flickr. License here

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