University staff pension dispute moves to Acas

The Guardian reports that the pensions dispute between universities and their staff moved closer to resolution on Tuesday after four days of strike action. Following a two-hour meeting in London, the two sides announced a joint attempt at arbitration through the industrial conciliation service Acas.

Both union and employers remained guarded over the details. But a move to arbitration represented a promising shift on the part of the employers, represented by the Universities UK (UUK) group, which had said its pension proposals would not be subject to negotiation.

The University and College Union (UCU) said its planned strikes would continue across the UK, with a fifth consecutive day of industrial action taking place on about 60 campuses on Wednesday. A further four days of strikes are scheduled to begin on 5 March.

Representatives from UCU said it had tabled proposals that would provide a guaranteed pension for members of the universities superannuation scheme (USS) at approximately half the extra cost of its previous proposals. The USS is one of the largest private pension schemes in the UK.

The UCU proposals would require universities to accept a higher rate of risk, in the unlikely event of universities going bankrupt or closing, while overall contributions would increase by 4.1%, with nearly two-thirds of the additional cost to be borne by universities.

As the strike action has intensified, a number of vice-chancellors have appeared publicly at odds with the UUK position. Anton Muscatelli, principal of the University of Glasgow and a USS board member, published a joint statement with the university’s UCU branch backing the current pension arrangements. “I very much hope that an early settlement can be found to the dispute. In the meantime we will continue to do all we can to minimise the impact on students,” he said.

Read more University staff pension dispute moves to Acas

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!

 

‘We need to fight. Arts education is a birthright for everyone’ – Geoff Barton
College lecturers take strike action
Categories: Employment, Higher Education and University.

Let us know what you think...