University lecturers continue to protest pensions
University lecturers and academics of 67 institutions, including Sussex, will resume the June 2011 dispute over detrimental changes to their pension schemes.
Lecturers will begin high pressure tactics to force renegotiations with the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) on the new pension schemes from 10th October.
The University College Union (UCU) has proposed that lecturers will begin a “work to contract” ploy. Working only their contracted hours and refusing to carry out any additional duties, such as the marking of students’ work, would affect students throughout the country.
It has been agreed that if negotiations do not resume between the UCU and the USS, some 40,000 University lecturers and academics will also carry out rolling strikes. The initial dispute began in June 2011, following the proposed changes to lecturer and academic pension schemes, when the UCU General Secretary asserted that these changes would require ‘greater contributions from pension scheme members for reduced benefits’.
Despite the one-day strike action taken by members of the UCU on 30th June, the USS continued to implement the disputed changes to the pension schemes.
Members of the UCU are dissatisfied with the introduction of increased retirement age and a conversion from their final-salary basis to the less generous Career Average Schemes.
UCU General Secretary, Sally Hunt, has said recently that “the changes will see an end to the final salary scheme, lower pensions for new staff, less protection against inflation and reduced pensions for staff made redundant.” Hunt has argued in an article for The Guardian “the changes have twice been rejected by over 90 percent of members of the scheme in consultation exercises.
“That is why our USS members have voted for a sustained industrial action campaign. Not because they want to. Not because they are militant. Not because they want to hurt their students. But because the proposals are unfair, unnecessary and without mandate.”