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University Staff Call Off Strike Action

Posted by Richard Ward in , ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

University staff have called off strikes that would have hampered summer exams, after agreeing to fresh pension plans.

Proposed changes to staff pensions resulted in 14 days of strikes at 64 universities in February and March, with more strikes due to take place.

University employers withdrew plans which the University and College Union (UCU) said would have resulted in members being £10,000 a year worse off in retirement.

Both sides have now agreed to create a joint expert panel to re-evaluate the pension scheme, with UCU members backing the deal by two to one.

The dispute started after Universities UK (UUK) said it would remove the guaranteed defined benefit pension for members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

Employers cited a large pension deficit as reason for the change, but the figure has been disputed by academics.

As part of this latest agreement, employers have now said they won't return to the original proposals.

A spokesman for the UUK said: "The decision by UCU members to support the creation of a Joint Expert Panel means that strike action is immediately suspended."

"This gives students important reassurance that they won't be affected by further disruption during their summer study and exam period."

"Reviewing the methodology and assumptions in the current valuation will build confidence and trust and increase transparency in the valuation process."

"It will provide an opportunity to consider the questions raised about the valuation by scheme members and employers."