Deal struck in university pensions row

Lester Mason
March 13, 2018

An interim solution where both employers and employees will be required to pay higher pension contributions has been agreed.

Talks to end the dispute have been been held at the Acas conciliation service, and on Monday evening an agreement was announced by the UCU and Universities UK.

The maintenance of detailed benefits would be supported by higher contributions by both employers and employees, rising from 18% to 19.3% for employers and from 8% to 8.7% for employees. These increased contributions are only in place for the duration of the 3-year transitional arrangement'.

The agreement would mean a new, independent re-evaluation of the pension deficit and temporary arrangements to tackle the shortfall. "This group will aim to 'inform the next USS valuation", due to be completed by the end of 2019.

UUK and UCU say that "trust needs to be rebuilt following this dispute", adding that the agreement "demonstrates a commitment by both parties to work together and avoid damaging disputes in the future".

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. UCU undertakes to encourage its members to prioritise the rescheduling of teaching in order to minimise the disruption to students'. However, it would be a surprise if they decided against such a step.

Many staff took to Twitter following the announcement, with the majority of voices uncertain about whether the measures would prove beneficial.

Under the transitional arrangements, defined benefits would accrue on salaries of up to £42,000, rather than £55,000, as is now the case. We've bit the bullet, we should stay the course.

But there have been calls to reject the deal from some strikers - with an open letter to the University and College Union leaders calling the agreement "completely unacceptable".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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