Today UCU members have voted in record numbers to accept a proposal approved by UUK to resolve the pensions dispute .
63.5 per cent of UCU members turned out to vote with 64 per cent voting in favour and 36 per cent voting against the new proposal.
According to the UCU website the new proposal involves, “the creation of a jointly agreed expert panel to agree key principles to underpin the future joint approach of UUK and UCU to the valuation of the USS fund. To allow this to happen, the current deal in terms of contributions into USS and pension benefits will remain in place until at least April 2019.”
UCU and UUK will together present their plans to the USS Board and Pensions regulator. It is expected to be welcomed by them.
With the acceptance of UUK’s proposal comes the suspension of any further planned industrial action. It is therefore expected that Edinburgh University examinations will not be affected and that graduations will go ahead as planned.
However, UCU has said that they will keep their strike mandate live as a precaution until the full process has taken place.
Sally Hunt, the General Secretary of UCU stated in a press release:
“Members have participated in record numbers in the consultation, with a clear majority voting to accept the proposals. The union has come a very long way since January when it seemed that the employers’ proposals for a defined contribution pension were to be imposed.
“Now we have agreement to move forward jointly, looking again at the USS valuation alongside a commitment from the employers to a guaranteed, defined benefit scheme. USS, the regulator and government now need to ensure that UCU and UUK have the space to implement the agreement effectively.
“We hope this important agreement will hearten workers across the UK fighting to defend their pension rights and was won through the amazing strike action of UCU members.
‘UCU has more work to do to ensure that the agreement delivers the security in retirement that university staff deserve. On behalf of all UCU members I want to say thank you to students and other staff for their inspiring support throughout the dispute.”
The Edinburgh branch of UCU have been strongly campaigning against accepting the proposal. On their website they have posted a video produced by Carl Morelli, as USS negotiator from the University of Dundee, explaining to members why they find the deal inadequate. The video, uploaded on 31 March was posted with the tagline #RejectUUKDeal. UCU Edinburgh have been contacted by The Student for comment.
At this moment it remains unclear whether the Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre will remain under occupation in light of these developments.
This is a developing story.
Image: Andrew Perry