UCU union members have voted by 64 percent to accept a deal in a long running dispute over pensions. It follows 14 days of strikes at over 60 universities against a plan to turn workers’ defined benefit scheme into a defined contribution one. UCU members opposed this because they would have got a much lower pension under the proposed changes.
The deal removes the immediate threat of the change and sets up an “expert panel” to look at the scheme. But it gives no guarantee that workers won’t end up paying more or getting less in retirement.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt urged workers to accept the deal - a climbdown by the bosses. In a letter to members after the ballot she noted that the vote represented the highest turnout in any national ballot or consultation of any kind in UCU's history.
Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, said: "The turnout and size of the 'No' vote shows how determined UCU members are to defend their pensions. Both show that it would be unwise for bosses to attack their pensions again."
"It's possible that bosses will come back on the offensive over pensions. But workers have built stronger rank-and-file organisation because of the strikes. The strikes have given the UCU a new energy. Workers are now in a better position to resist any further attacks on their financial interests."
UCU Consultative ballot - full result
The result of the UCU members consultation on accepting the latest proposal on ending the dispute from the employers was:
Total balloted: 53,415
Total votes cast: 33,973
Total number valid votes: 33,913
Yes to accept the UUK offer 21,683 (64%)
No to reject the UUK offer 12,230 (36%).