by Tim Lezard UCU members in 68 universities across the UK are balloting for industrial action over pensions. The union says staff at some of the UK’s most selective universities will have pensions up to 36% worse than their colleagues at the former po …

UCU logoby Tim Lezard

UCU members in 68 universities across the UK are balloting for industrial action over pensions.

The union says staff at some of the UK’s most selective universities will have pensions up to 36% worse than their colleagues at the former polytechnics if radical proposals for academic pensions are forced through.

The changes would mean universities such as Oxford and Cambridge would be offering pension deals worth thousands of pounds less per year than local rivals such as Oxford Brookes or Anglia Ruskin.

The UCU analysis shows how staff at so-called ‘new’ universities who are members of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) would take home up to almost £20,000 more a year in retirement than colleagues at Russell Group institutions who belong to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

The union says it will be asking members to back plans for a marking boycott and to refuse to set exams. The action would mean students would not be set coursework or receive formal marks and feedback, and exams would be halted.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘The Russell Group of universities and other self-described elite institutions often boast about being the leading lights of the UK higher education sector. However, if these radical changes are forced through they drop to the bottom of the table for staff pensions.

“Once prospective staff know that pensions at some our most famous universities are up to 36% lower than the new universities there will be real concerns about recruitment and retention of the brightest talent.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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