The University and College Union (UCU), the trade union representing academic staff in further and higher education, has announced industrial action over the future of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), after negotiations ended without an agreement between representatives from UCU and Universities UK (UUK).
USS is the main pension scheme for academic and related staff in the pre-92 institutions and, since its foundation, has provided a decent income in retirement for hundreds of thousands of people. In a sector where many would earn more working in the private sector, the USS pension has provided compensation for relatively modest salaries and has acted as a magnet for talented overseas staff. First Actuarial estimates that a typical lecturer will receive £208,000 less under the proposals than presently.
NUS believes that fairly rewarded staff are the cornerstone of the university experience and that the proposal by Universities UK to substantially cut the pensions of members of the USS pension scheme will be hugely damaging if implemented. We are sending our full support to UCU during this dispute and area calling on universities to return to negotiations. NUS President, Shakira Martin, and UCU General Secretary, Sally Hunt, have recently released a joint statement.
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