740 Edinburgh Uni staff vote to say they’re prepared to strike over pension changes

A strike could take place as soon as next month

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In an industrial action ballot conducted by the University College Union (UCU), 740 members of staff at Edinburgh University have voted in favour of strike action over proposed changes to their pensions.

In total, 1,364 people were contacted, with 848 responding – meaning that 87.6 per cent of the respondents support strike action.

UCU, the higher education trade union, have argued that under the proposed changes employers will "say your final pension should depend on how your 'investments' perform and not on your contributions", and that the only way they can respond is through strike action.

Yesterday, the employers' group Universities UK voted to press ahead with the pension changes despite the opposition from UCU. This latest development has made the prospect of strike action much more likely.

When asked about the likelihood of any strike taking place, a University spokesperson simply referred The Tab to a statement made by Universities UK.

The statement read: ""The prospect of industrial action at 61 out of the 68 higher education institutions balloted by UCU is disappointing as talks between employers and the union on USS pension reform continue.

"A solution to the significant funding challenges facing USS needs to be found. UUK's priority is to put USS on a secure and sustainable footing while offering attractive, market-leading pensions – the very best that can be afforded by both employers and employees.

"If industrial action takes place it could cause disruption to students at some universities. We hope that this can be avoided through further talks with UCU and that union members carefully consider the possible impact on students of taking industrial action." ​

Unless significant progress is made between the two parties, strike action from university staff seems inevitable.