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University staff eye pension strike action over plans to cut DB rights

Financial education cover.jpgA seven-week ballot is beginning this week which could see professors and lecturers strike over plans to move university staff out of their defined benefit pension schemes.

The University College Union, which has 42,000 members across the UK, is balloting members on proposals by Universities UK, the body overseeing 350 higher education employers, to switch staff from DB arrangements into a defined contribution scheme.

400,000 academics and other university staff are currently part of the Universities Superannuation Scheme, but the £60bn scheme is facing a growing funding shortage.

Universities UK estimates that between £480m and £560m a year would be needed to plug the deficit, which is estimated at between £5.1bn and £7.5bn.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt told the Financial Times: “This was a real shock for members…Our members work hard and have not had high pay rises for many years, but they have always had their DB pension that they could rely on. To take this away now is extreme and we will not accept it.”

Another possible disruption for students after academics also staged a two-day walk-out last year is “regrettable”, Universities UK said.

UCU is understood to be discussing a possible judicial review of the change, not just industrial action.


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There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. It never fails to amaze me how many public sector workers expect the rest of us to provide for their desire to ignore the real world.

    • Actually Duncan, you might need to read a littlemore about what is going on with the USS scheme before you start sating it is the staff who are not in the realworld rather than those trying to force these changes through . I would suggest you read some of the information posted on Henry Tapper’s “Pension Playpen”

      • …..what an excellent article….and so glad that I am a product from the University of Warwick! Our Financial Advice practise has many USS members (mainly employed at Warwick)….so at least we will be semi prepared for some of the discussions we will no doubt be faced with before long.
        Many thanks for the heads up……..

  2. Nor that, with their ‘right on’ credentials they see nothing wrong in the low paid in the private sector continuing to subsidise a level of pension benefit which, for the higher earners in the public sector, possibly exceeds their own current earnings. Truly, some people are more equal than others!

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