• Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

UCU members vote to end dispute with university employers over pensions

ByTom Harrington

Oct 25, 2023

UCU members voted to end the dispute over the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) today after employment body UUK offered a full restoration of pensions.

99 per cent of the 19 thousand members that took part, voted to accept the UUK offer, which will see the accrual rate of 1/85 return to 1/75 of employees’ salary.

The accepted pay offer will also see an increase to the defined benefit threshold from £40k to around £70k. 

The offer also saw the removal of the 2.5% annual cap on pension increases and replaced by a ‘soft-cap’ agreed upon during employee consultation in September.

In a statement released on October 20, the UCU highlighted that this “restoration is the first time a UK union has achieved a reversal of a pension cut of this magnitude”.

Employees will also receive a one-off payment of £900 million to compensate for money members have lost since April 2022.

With the full restoration and one-off payment, UCU members’ pensions will receive an additional £16-18 billion.

“The changes will see the typical USS member be around £150-£200k better off due to paying less into their pension and receiving much more throughout their retirement”.

In the statement above, the UCU added that the “agreement also paves the way for new contribution rates to be introduced as soon as January.

“This Is likely to bring employee contributions down from 9.8% to 6.1%, putting more money into UCU member’s pockets”.

UCU members have been protesting since 2018, with 69 days of strike over the 5-year period against changes to the USS, the largest private pension scheme in the UK.

However, UCU members will continue to fight over the ‘Four Fights’, a separate dispute between the UCU and the University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA).

Members have only recently ended a marking and assessment boycott (MAB) on September 30 as part of the dispute over the four fights, as well as five strike days that took place in September.

General secretary for the UCU, Jo Grady told members that “today is a historic moment.

“You were told it was impossible, but you have delivered the full restoration of your pension.

“For everyone who balloted, picketed, and campaigned – this victory is yours.”

Grady added on the site formerly known as Twitter, that “We won’t stop until we create a HE (Higher Education) sector that values all its staff”.

UCU balloon” by secretlondon123 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.