University of South Wales: Union says strike 'possible'

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University of South Wales was formed in 2013 following the merger of Glamorgan and Newport universities

A union is refusing to rule out industrial action after a university proposed changes to pensions for new staff.

University of South Wales (USW) said reforms are needed in order to avoid "potentially crippling" liabilities in the future.

Unison said the changes would make new workers "second-class employees".

Four other Welsh universities have been hit by strikes in a separate dispute about changes to lecturers' pensions.

Dan Beard, union representative at USW, said the university was undermining the pensions of the lowest paid.

He said: "Pensions are deferred wages which people have worked hard to receive.

"Preventing new employees from joining the current pension scheme effectively destabilises and devalues it.

"We will reflect on how we respond to this announcement and industrial action is a very real possibility."

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USW is the sixth largest university in the UK and has campuses in Cardiff, as well as Newport and Treforest

The changes to pensions at USW would affect workers joining departments such as IT, estates and the academic registry from August 2018 - but not academics.

Support staff can currently access the Local Government Pension Scheme, but the university said there was "increasing pressure" on public sector pension schemes.

A spokesman said: "New support staff will have access to the new scheme, and so will current colleagues if they choose to. All other terms and conditions of service remain.

"We have a strong and respectful relationship with our trade unions. Even though it doesn't affect their members who are existing members of staff, we will be continuing the conversation with them to understand their concerns."