Staff strike called off after pension talks are planned

A break-through has been made after threat of escalation

A University of Liverpool strike and marking boycott has been put on hold after plans were put in place for further talks regarding staff pensions.

Liverpool academics were due to strike from Monday in response to the University’s decision to dock the pay of those taking part in the marking and feedback boycott by 100%.

61.5% of UCU members support the strike

But in a joint statement, the UCU and employer group Universities UK confirmed progress is being made to reach a compromise.

They said: “The University and College Union and Universities UK have confirmed an agreement to suspend the industrial action in relation to the Universities Superannuation Scheme pensions dispute from today until after the joint negotiating committee meeting scheduled for Thursday 15 January 2015.

“UCU and UUK have agreed to a series of negotiating meetings between now and the scheduled January JNC.

“It is hoped that this period can be used to close the differences between the negotiating positions, with a view to reaching agreement on reforms to the USS scheme.

“Both parties are committed to seeking a joint proposal for reform that offers an affordable, sustainable and attractive pension scheme, for both current and future members.”

Our much-loved Vice Chancellor Sir Howard Newby has been at the centre of the row

Our much-loved Vice Chancellor Sir Howard Newby has been at the centre of the row

It continued: “Both parties are pleased that the agreement to suspend industrial action at this early stage will mean that students will not have been adversely affected and members of staff will not have had pay deducted.”

Members of the UCU based at the university first took industrial action in outrage against the proposed changes to the Superannuation Scheme pension scheme, alterations that would have left staff thousands of pounds worse off – in some cases hundreds of thousands.

Universities UK claims the current pension scheme has a “substantial, persistent and volatile deficit” and can no longer be afforded.

However with university big dogs still earning incredible amounts of money year on year despite sweeping cuts elsewhere in the university, perhaps the staff have a pretty fair point?