You may be aware that last week The University and College Union (UCU), which has members across our academic and professional services staff, unfortunately announced that it has chosen to ballot its members over industrial action in connection with pensions and pay and conditions.
We want our staff to have access to an attractive, affordable and sustainable pension which will provide for their retirement, as part of an overall package that makes our University a great place to work. As part of Universities UK (the organisation which represents universities at a national level) we have been working hard to achieve a scheme that still provides attractive benefits, while remaining affordable and sustainable for all.
These negotiations take place at a national level so The University of Manchester is not able to take decisions individually.
As a result of this work, the USS Trustee (which is the independent, legal owner of the pension) has agreed to proceed with the employers’ proposals . Failure to do so would have meant very substantial increases in payments for staff (to 11% of their salary) and universities (to 23.7%) in October and two further increases next year. It is clear that these increases would be imposed if an agreement is not reached now.
However, the UCU has decided to ballot its members as it believes staff in the scheme are facing a cut in their final pension of up to 35%. Universities UK and our University do not agree with that conclusion, and detailed information to explain this has been sent to all staff, to ensure they have clear information on our position. Those who would be affected by changes will also receive an accurate and impartial explanation of the potential impact from the USS Trustee during formal consultation.
Director of Human Resources, Karen Heaton said: “We urge the UCU to work with UUK on behalf of the many employers in the USS.
She added: “In addition we are concerned that industrial action would affect our students’ experience, taking away the opportunity to learn after many difficult months.
“It is disappointing that UCU intends to ballot its members on the USS pension when we have all worked hard to achieve the best outcome possible. We are obviously concerned that industrial action will have a further damaging effect after a significantly disrupted 18 months.”
We will continue to update you with news of the ballot and outcome.
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