University employers agree proposed changes to pension scheme

University employers have agreed changes to its pension scheme.

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) has agreed proposed changes to the scheme, which include the implementation of a career average revalued earnings (Care) structure for new entrants.

The University and College Union (UCU) has warned that universities could face a major programme of sustained industrial action after the changes were agreed.

The meeting to agree the changes was called at the request of the trustee board following earlier JNC meetings that could not proceed due to the absence of the UCU nominees.

The UCU said it sent fresh proposals to the employers on 14 April and offered to meet under the auspices of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). The offer was rejected and the union’s negotiators attended the meeting this week where the changes were agreed.

The union said it was frustrated that university employers had consistently refused to negotiate. In a letter to members last week, UCU general secretary Sally Hunt warned that if the employers pushed ahead with the meeting to force the changes through then the union will be left with little option but to re-ballot its members in the USS scheme.

Hunt said: “I have tried and tried again to persuade the employers to negotiate and resolve this increasingly bitter dispute sensibly.

“They simply refuse to share even one penny of their massive savings with staff and the proposals have been forced through as a result of ordinary union members being threatened with legal action. That, in my judgement, is disgraceful.”

Sir Andrew Cubie, the independent chairman of the JNC, said: “While I was pleased that the meeting was once again quorate, I was deeply disappointed that the employers and UCU were not able to reach agreement on these important issues.

“In these circumstances I was again obliged to exercise my casting vote on proposals which I believe will help to ensure the long-term sustainability of USS.”

Read more articles on the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS)

Read more articles on public sector pensions