Strikes could be suspended Wednesday following controversial deal
The University and College Union (UCU) strike could be suspended this Wednesday, following talks between the UCU and Universities UK (UUK).
Negotiations have resulted in a revised plan for pension reforms, which will take place over a three-year period, if the plan is agreed upon by all parties. Potentially the deal could be rejected by either party though, and until the deal is accepted strikes will continue
The new plan will be sent out and considered by UCU members, whilst UUK will liaise with employers who use the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the pensions scheme which is at the centre of the industrial action.
Whilst these consultations take place, universities are expecting the UCU to suspend its industrial action, meaning striking university staff could be back at work this week.
However, many UCU members have expressed dissatisfaction with the agreement reached by their union. Chris Chatwin, President of Sussex UCU, told The Badger that most members of Sussex UCU believe the new deal should be rejected. He described the deal as ‘rubbish’ and said that ‘this was not a victory’.
Sussex UCU will be meeting to discuss their response to the deal on Tuesday. Warwick, Liverpool, SOAS, and UCL branches of the UCU have already said they will not accept the deal reached in Monday’s talks.
Adam Tickell, Sussex’s Vice-Chancellor, has welcomed the agreement though. In an email to staff he said there had been ‘considerable compromise in both directions’ and expressed delight at successful talks between the UCU and UUK.
The revised pension scheme would maintain a “meaningful level” of defined benefits for university staff, an aspect of the USS which was set to be lost under the original changes which staff are striking against. Employer contributions will rise to 19.3% of salary, with members’ contributions going up to 8.7%. These increased contributions will only be in place for the three-year transitional arrangement.
This new deal follows reports last week that negotiations between the UCU and UUK had been unsuccessful and that further industrial action could be planned by the UCU in coming months.