University lectures' strike is off as both parties walk back pension demands

Agreement in bitter universities' pension dispute paves way for end of strike action

He said the deal had been jointly agreed by union and employers as a "mutually acceptable way forward".

Universities UK (UUK) and University College Union (UCU) negotiators have published the terms of a new joint proposal on the USS Pension, following the conclusion of talks at ACAS on Monday 12th March. Further disruption to the examination period was also threatened by strikes.

The newspaper said the interim arrangement would come into effect from April next year if the parties agree to it. This temporary arrangement will provide time for a long-term solution to be found.

The hashtag #NoCapitulation was trending on Twitter as staff members and students took to social media to voice their anger.

An open letter addressed to the national leadership of the UCU, signed by over 5,200 people, states: "The current agreement kicks a serious solution to the pension dispute in the long grass, committing to a three-year process of re-evaluation".

Given concerns expressed by many universities and UCU about the scheme's valuation methodology, which triggered concerns of a £6.1 billion deficit and UUK's proposal to end defined benefits, an independent expert valuation group would be convened to look into the issue.

"The agreement on benefits noted above is transitional for the period of this valuation (from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2022)".

Employers and union leaders have struck a deal on reforming United Kingdom university pensions, raising hopes that strike action which is into its fourth week could soon be suspended.

The row centred on proposals that would change the pension from a defined benefit scheme, which gives workers a guaranteed income in their retirement, to a defined contribution scheme, in which pensions are subject to fluctuations in the stock market.

UUK and UCU say that "trust needs to be rebuilt following this dispute", adding that the agreement "demonstrates a commitment by both parties to work together and avoid damaging disputes in the future".

But this has been rejected by a meeting of the union's representatives - with warnings that it was "completely unacceptable" after weeks of strikes and loss of earnings.



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