University staff threaten strike action over pension changes

6 Sep 19

University staff are considering strike action after analysis suggested they may be £240,000 worse off in retirement due to pension changes.

The University and College Union is balloting more than 52,000 members of the University Superannuation Scheme in 69 universities on whether or not to strike.

Analysis by pensions advisors First Actuarial found that because of changes to the USS, a typical member will pay around £40,000 more into their pension but receive almost £200,000 less in retirement - making them £240,000 worse off.

It comes after universities pushed through plans last month to increase staff pensions contributions from 8.8% currently to 9.6%, with further hikes planned for 2021.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “The latest round of increased contributions backed by universities represents another pay cut for staff. We are concerned that those on lower pay may well decide they simply cannot afford to pay for a pension any more, putting the future of the scheme at risk.

“Universities have to recognise the anger and frustration that members feel about the recent changes, how the scheme has been valued and how it has been run. It is not good enough to come back time and again with proposals that force members to pay more for reduced benefits.”

Two weeks ago UCU negotiators rejected an offer of lower member contributions.

“There is still time for the unions to consult their members on it,” the spokesperson added.

Last year, strikes by university staff over the USS affected 500,000 teaching hours over a 14 day period.

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