Strikes could be suspended from tomorrow following resolution to pensions row

Tuesday, 13 Mar, 2018

The end of the deadlock came after six days of talks amid concern that the strike would have a long-term effect on students' studies, as well as impacting on relationships between the university staff and their employers.

Universities UK (UUK) and University College Union (UCU) negotiators have published the terms of a new joint proposal on the USS Pension, following the conclusion of talks at ACAS on Monday 12th March.

There would also be an independent re-evaluation of the size of the pension scheme's deficit. It further does so at the very moment we are strongest and able to force a more decisive victory.

"UCU undertakes to encourage its members to prioritise the rescheduling of teaching in order to minimise the disruption to students."

Contributions from universities and staff would increase during the transition period, to 19.3 per cent for employers and 8.7 per cent for employees (currently 18 per cent and 8 per cent respectively).

More than 7,000 people have signed an open letter rejecting the agreement between the union and the employers' organisation.

A statement from the UCU said: "Both parties agreed to a transitional benefit arrangement outcome for this valuation which maintains a meaningful level of defined benefits (DB) for all scheme members".

"The agreement on benefits noted above is transitional for the period of this valuation (from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2022)".

An agreement was last night reached between lecturers' leaders and university officials over their bitter pensions dispute - potentially paving the way for strike action to be called off.

The University of Liverpool branch issued a statement which said that members "in our branch and across the country did not join one of the most impressive shows of collective solidarity in the face of restrictive trade union laws for a compromise offer that does not guarantee them decency in retirement".

"Both UUK and UCU recognise that trust needs to be rebuilt following this dispute".

A meeting of union officials is expected to take place later today and, should the interim proposals be sanctioned, the strikes could be suspended from tomorrow.