NUS joins forces with UCU in pensions dispute

The NUS has called on university leaders to engage in negotiations to end a dispute over pensions which could see students caught up in industrial action on campuses in the new year.

In a joint statement with the UCU, NUS said students benefitted from a university sector where staff were properly paid and knew they would receive a fair pension in retirement.

The statement comes after shadow education secretary Angela Rayner raised concerns over planned changes to university pensions that could see a typical staff member over £200,000 worse off in retirement.

The full joint NUS and UCU statement says:

“It is in the interests of both staff and students that we have a university sector in which staff are treated and remunerated fairly. This must also include ensuring that lecturers can be assured that they will receive a fair pension upon retirement.

“University leaders have proposed significant detrimental changes to the agreed terms of the USS pension scheme – both to the staff contribution, and the subsequent pension that is received. UCU, negotiating on behalf of their members, estimate that a typical lecturer would be more than £200,000 worse off over the course of their retirement under the proposals.

“NUS and UCU are united in calling for university leaders to engage in open, faithful and constructive negotiation for as long as it takes in order to resolve this dispute, as a matter of urgency.

UCU is currently balloting members on the prospect of industrial action. NUS and UCU share a significant concern that a failure to engage will risk industrial action being undertaken, which would entail considerable disruption for both students and staff.

“Fair, mutual resolution of this dispute is in the interest of our whole higher education sector. UCU will continue to seek good-faith engagement with university leaders, and NUS is fully supportive of this engagement.”

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