Breaking: UCU strike cancelled as members accept proposals in pensions dispute
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UCU members have voted in record numbers to accept University UK'S (UUK) proposals in the pensions dispute, subsequently suspending the second wave of strikes.In an incredible 63.5% turnout for the USS strike ballot, 64% of members voted to accept proposals, compared to just 36% voting to reject them. This means the second wave of strikes, which were due to begin next week and continue into the exam period across the months of May and June, will now not be going ahead, and UUK and UCU will work together on looking into changes to staff pensions.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "Members have participated in record numbers in the consultation, with a clear majority voting to accept the proposals.
"We hope this important agreement will hearten workers across the UK fighting to defend their pension rights and was won through the amazing strike action of UCU members.
"UCU has more work to do to ensure that the agreement delivers the security in retirement that university staff deserve. On behalf of all UCU members I want to say thank you to students and other staff for their inspiring support throughout the dispute."
The dispute first began when UUK put forward suggestions to change the guranteed 'defined benefit' pension scheme for members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme, following a valuation of the scheme in 2017. Changes which UCU claimed would see some members lose around £10,000 a year in retirement
After talks broke down with UUK regarding concerns, UCU members went on strike at 65 institutions across the country. UUK and UCU will now work together to set up a Joint Expert Panel which will examine the USS 2017 valuation as well as also looking at a wide range of issues that have been raised by UCU.
Commenting on the descision by UCU members, a UUK spokesperson said: "The decision by UCU members to support the creation of a Joint Expert Panel means that strike action is immediately suspended.This gives students important reassurance that they won't be affected by further disruption during their summer study and exam period.
"Reviewing the methodology and assumptions in the current valuation will build confidence, trust and increase transparency in the valuation process."It will provide an opportunity to consider the questions raised about the valuation by scheme members and employers."