5th Jul, 2022

Warwick University staff to join strikes over pensions

Felix Nobes 9th Feb, 2018

THE University of Warwick will be hit with 14 days of strike action.

The action is being taken by members of the University and College Union (UCU).

They are reacting to a decision to scrap a benefit as part of a pension scheme.

UCU says this would leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement.

The decision has been criticised by Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor of Warwick University.

The action begins on Thursday February 22 with a five-day walkout which triggers a four-week period of disruption.

There will be four days of strikes from Monday 5 to Thursday March 8 and a full five-day walkout the following week (12 – 16 March).

Talks between UCU and the employers’ representative ended without agreement.

Overall, 88 per cent of members backed strike action and 93 per cent backed action short of a strike.

The turnout was 58 per cent.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “Staff who have delivered the international excellence universities boast of are understandably angry at efforts to slash their pensions.

“They feel let down by vice-chancellors who seem to care more about defending their own pay and perks than the rights of their staff.

“Strike action on this scale has not been seen before on UK campuses, but universities need to know the full scale of the disruption they will be hit with if they refuse to sort this mess out.”

Mr Croft said: “I strongly believe that there is scope to look again at the technical provisions, to look at other benefit options – such as full defined contribution options for those above the national pay scale (perhaps by opt-in) and the flexibility to offer defined contribution to others who would prefer a more flexible scheme – and the deficit recovery period.

“A combination of these could sustain a meaningful defined benefit offering for those below the current salary threshold.”

Other universities, such as the University of Birmingham, are still in contention to join the strike by engaging in a fresh ballot on February 16.

A turnout of over 50 per cent is required to enable participation in the protests.

The dispute centres on Universities UK (UUK) proposing an end to the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme.

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