Potential strike over pension changes

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Academics at the University may strike over pensions, as concerns are raised over pension changes which could cost them over £20,000 per year.

Staff at nine of Scotland’s oldest institutions, including St Andrews, Dundee and Stirling, have been balloted for industrial action.

Negotiations are currently underway between academics, the University and College Union Scotland (UCU) and the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) about pension changes recently proposed by the USS due to a large impending deficit.

Newer universities, many of which are members of the Scottish Teachers’ Superannuation Scheme (STSS), are facing no significant impending reductions in the long-term benefits they can offer their staff.

The UCU claims that the University of Dundee, for instance, would offer pension deals up to 36% less than local upstart rivals. Many newer institutions would thus be more attractive to prospective staff, making it more difficult for institutions such as St Andrews to attract and retain the brightest academics.

The USS, which was established in 1974, presides over the pensioning of staff from over 350 universities, primarily in the UK. Members include the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University of Durham, University of Glasgow, University of Aberdeen, Imperial College London and the University of Edinburgh, among others. Anyone employed by participant universities are automatically entered into the USS’s pension program, their benefits calculated through an algorithm available on the USS’s website.

A spokesperson for the University said: “It is widely known that the USS scheme, like many others, is facing a considerable deficit. There is not however a proposal on the table at the moment. It is our belief that all parties should be working together to address the underlying issues.”

 

 

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