OVER 50,000 university staff at 69 universities are currently balloting for a nationwide strike over an attack on their pensions – which means they will pay more in and get less out. At the same time, staff at 147 universities are also being balloted for a nationwide strike over pay, sackings and workloads.
New analysis published today proves that since 2011 university staff have been paying far more for their pension, and will lose tens of thousands of pounds in retirement because of a series of detrimental changes made to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).
Both of the strike ballots close on Wednesday 30 October.
According to the modelling by First Actuarial, because of the changes to USS, a typical member will pay around £40,000 more into their pension, but receive almost £200,000 less in retirement leaving them £240,000 worse off in total.
That is compared to a hypothetical member who also joined in 2011 on the same conditions, but has not been affected by any of the changes brought in since then.
Last year universities were brought to standstill by unprecedented levels of strike action, temporarily staving off plans to abolish the defined benefit element of USS.
However, last month universities pushed through plans to make members pay 9.6% of their salary into their USS pension, compared to 8.8% at present.
The union previously wrote to universities in June and warned that if they did not agree to limit members’ contributions to 8%, or meet the cost of any additional contributions, it would ballot for strike action.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘The latest round of increased contributions backed by universities represents another pay cut for staff.
‘We are concerned that those on lower pay may well decide they simply cannot afford to pay for a pension any more, putting the future of the scheme at risk.’
Universities across the UK now face the mother of all strikes.