Stalemate ends in bitter university pensions row

The number of students experiencing mental health conditions has risen five-fold over the last decade

Anger is mounting over the proposed deal on university pensions

The newspaper said the interim arrangement would come into effect from April next year if the parties agree to it. This includes a total employer contribution of 19.3% of salaries and a total member contribution of 8.7%.

"The employers' valuation has been demonstrated to be bogus, yet the UCU leadership is now accepting to increase our contribution while we re-evaluate".

The stalemate over pensions has seen academics strike over a number of days in protest at changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

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The University and College Union said that talks with Universities UK had resulted in a transitional arrangement under which employers and employees will be required to pay higher pension contributions for three years. The objective will be to inform the next USS valuation and therefore will be completed by the end of 2019'.

UUK, meanwhile, says it would ask institutions "to consider ways in which the financial impact [of the strike] on graduate teaching assistants may be minimised", although there is no agreement on restoring pay lost by more senior staff.

UCU said that the deal would be considered by its higher education committee and branch representatives on 13 March and, if they back the deal, strike action now under way at 65 universities would be suspended as of 14 March. However, it would be a surprise if they decided against such a step.

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The union has threatened a further 14 days of strikes, "designed to hit the exam and assessment periods between April and June".

The hashtag #NoCapitulation was trending on Twitter as staff members and students took to social media to voice their anger.

Under the transitional arrangements, defined benefits would accrue on salaries of up to £42,000, rather than £55,000, as is now the case. The University of Cambridge is now ready to act without delay should such an agreement be reached between UUK and the UCU'. "There's no evidence this is much more than a strategy to stop 'current impasse", i.e. devastating strike action'.

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The petition continues, "Furthermore, the UCU is effectively calling on us to both reschedule as well as calling off the action before having put it to the membership, two positions that are absolutely unacceptable".

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