Education & Family

Lecturers in UK-wide strike over pensions

Sally Hunt
Image caption Sally Hunt said staff were angry that pensions would be cut because of the economic mistakes of others

College and university lecturers will walk out in a UK-wide strike over changes to their pensions Thursday next week.

University and College Union members at colleges and newer universities will join members already striking at 63 older universities after voting in favour of the walkouts.

The union said its members were angry about planned changes to two schemes.

The university Employers Pension Forum said it was disappointed.

College and new university lecturers are members of the Teachers' Pensions Scheme (TPS) and have just voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.

Roughly three-quarters of UCU members who voted - 76% in further education and 72% in higher education - backed the strike action, the union said.

UCU members at older universities are members of a separate scheme, the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). Two weeks ago they backed strike action over changes to the scheme which they say will reduce its benefits and increase its costs.

The first walkout over USS changes is set to take place on Thursday, 17 March in Scotland, on Friday, 18 March in Wales and on Monday, 21 March in Northern Ireland. England's members of the USS scheme will walk out on Tuesday, 22 March.

And then on Thursday, 24 March members of the TPS scheme will join members of the USS scheme in a UK-wide walkout. TPS members say the planned changes will lead to greater contributions and later retirements.

'Moderate reforms'

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "Staff are sick to the back teeth of being told that hard-won pensions benefits need to be cut to pay for an economic crisis created by others.

"As things stand, new starters in the USS scheme will see more than one-third wiped off their annual pension entitlement, while in TPS the average lecturer faces a £90 increase in costs per month in exchange for reduced benefits."

Universities and colleges face cost-saving measures and budgets cuts and like the rest of the public sector are planning pension reforms.

An Employers Pension Forum spokesman said: "We are very disappointed that the UCU has decided to take strike action over unspecified potential changes to the TPS and the moderate package of reforms to the USS.

"At present it would seem that the UCU is the only trade union not awaiting the outcome of the current discussions between TUC and the government relating to public sector pension schemes."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites