THERE was uproar throughout the Universities and College Union (UCU) yesterday, after the employers threw out the union’s proposal that huge pensions changes should be put to a ballot.
Members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) will be denied a vote on changes to their pension scheme after the employers’ representatives rejected calls for a ballot of all affected members at a board of trustees meeting on Thursday night. UCU said the decision was ‘anti-democratic’ and warned that it will weaken the credibility the scheme has with its members.
The three trustees representing employees on the USS board proposed a referendum of all USS members on the changes proposed by the employers. The union says new starters would lose more than £100,000 in pension payments, compared to the current scheme, and long-serving staff made redundant would be forced to accept inferior benefits.
UCU General Secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘The decision to deny fund members a vote on fundamental changes to their pension scheme will come back to haunt the employers. It shows that they are unwilling to either argue the case in a referendum or be bound by its result. It is an anti-democratic disgrace that universities would seek to implement changes without the mandate of those affected.
‘This issue will not go away. We will be pressing for a transparent referendum of all USS members in every institution before they respond to the sham consultation. If the scheme is to retain any credibility, university vice-chancellors need to join me in urging the USS board to reconsider its decision, otherwise lasting damage will be done to the relationship between staff and the sector’s leaders.’