The University and College Union (UCU), one of the ETUCE member organisations in the United Kingdom, has won major concessions after a series of strikes to protect the guaranteed pension benefits of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). During the strikes, the UCU has been in negotiations with Universities UK (the education employers for universities) and the following are some of the points achieved :

  • The defined contribution proposal is off the table, which would have cost UCU members an average of £200,000 (approx. 230,000 €)  in their retirement;
  • A guaranteed pension to “reflect the clear will of staff to have a guaranteed pension comparable with current provision is to be established;
  • A joint expert panel, nominated in equal numbers from both the union and employer, to agree key principles to underpin the joint approach of UUK and UCU to the valuation of the USS fund is to be set up.

In a ballot of its members in higher education, 64% of UCU members voted to accept the deal, giving the union a clear mandate to accept the deal. Following this, the UCU has decided to suspend all upcoming strike action and will keep the legal strike mandate alive until the proposal is formally noted at the USS board.

Congratulating the UCU leadership and affiliates on their achievements , ETUCE European Director Susan Flocken said “It is vital that the voice of education trade unions is heard in discussions and negotiations on the pensions of higher education lecturers and staff. The strike action taken by the UCU has sent a strong and powerful signal to the education employers in the country that higher education lecturers and staff defend their pensions and rights. Decent working conditions and pension benefits are crucial for quality teaching in higher education and research and for the attractiveness of the teaching profession. ETUCE continues supporting its member organisations  in their fight for guaranteed pension benefits

To read more, click here.