Socialist Worker

Is the university pensions deal about to fall apart?

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2601

Bosses are desperate for university workers not to strike again

Bosses are desperate for university workers not to strike again

A deal reached by the UCU union and UUK bosses to end a series of strikes over pensions is potentially in chaos.

Workers struck for 14 days against a plan to turn their defined benefit USS pension scheme into a defined contribution one.

The deal agreed to withdraw that immediate threat and instead to set up a “joint expert panel” made up of UCU and UUK representatives to discuss the future of the scheme.

The root of the problem is that the scheme was valued in such a way as to make it wrongly appear that it was in deficit. A leaked “update” from USS boss Bill Galvin shows that USS intends to stick to this valuation.

This could force workers and bosses to pay more in contributions.

Carlo Morelli is a UCU negotiator and UCU rep at Dundee university. He told Socialist Worker, “We want USS to back off from trying to undermine the panel. USS’s valuation is flawed but it will not give it up.

“The whole agreement could now unravel. The UCU higher education committee meets on Friday.

“We should be ready to put our strikes back on to defend our pension scheme.”

UCU London Region is holding “UCU: A union transformed: UK-wide activists’ assembly/dayschool” on Saturday 28 April. Go to for details.
  • UCU union members at Hull College are set to strike on 9, 17 and 18 May.
    The workers voted by 79 percent for strikes to stop plans to slash around a third of the workforce.
    They also passed a motion of no confidence in college boss Michelle Swithenbank last week.

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