Members of the University and College Union (UCU) have voted to accept Universities UK’s (UUK) offer, which establishes a joint expert panel to evaluate the pensions provided by the University Superannuation Scheme (USS).
This decision puts all currently planned strike action – including that scheduled for next week – on hold. As the IWGB position was to support national UCU industrial action, this means its members are now standing down as well.
Nearly two thirds of eligible UCU members (33,973) took part in the consultation, with 64 per cent (21,683) voting to accept the offer from Universities UK, and 12,230 voting to reject it.
Writing to members following the vote, UCU’s general secretary, Sally Hunt said that, “In line with the decision of members the union will suspend its immediate industrial action plans but keep our legal strike mandate live until the agreement between UCU and UUK is noted by USS.
“For the avoidance of doubt, all currently planned industrial action – including that scheduled for next week – is suspended and members should work normally.”
Strike action that began in February, centred on UUK’s plans to overhaul the USS, which has 400,000 members at 67 universities and colleges and 300 specialist institutions such as the Royal Society and Cancer Research UK. The first UUK offer to end the strike in March was unanimously rejected by UCU.
Industrial action took place at 65 universities across the UK, with a loss of some 14 days of teaching. There were fears that further action would disrupt final examinations and prevent students on some courses from graduating.
“Now we have agreement to move forward jointly, looking again at the USS valuation alongside a commitment from the employers to a guaranteed, defined benefit scheme,’ explains Sally Hunt.
“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.”