Industrial action is being taken across 61 UK universities over proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), a higher education pension scheme.
Changes are being introduced to ensure a scheme which is sustainable and stable as well as valued and fair. In addition, the independent Pensions Regulator has concerns over the future of the USS due to its significant deficit and the rising cost of future pensions.
The reform of USS has been the subject of extensive national negotiations through the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC). This body is made up equally of University UK (UUK) and University and College Union (UCU) representatives, with an independent chair.
Universities are not able to negotiate USS pension provision independently and no individual institution has control over what is decided at a national level.
Universities UK (UUK) and University and College Union (UCU) have initiated further talks on the future of the USS pension scheme.
Industrial action at Leeds
UCU, one of the two national negotiating parties, called for industrial action at local level, at 61 institutions.
The Universitys staff are committed to the education and well-being of students, and the University recognises that taking part in industrial action is a difficult and complex decision for staff.
The period of industrial action across the UK will be challenging for students, staff and universities alike.
Starting on 22 February, action will take place over a four week period, with UCU calling for strike action on the following days:
- Week one - Thursday 22 and Friday 23 February (two days)
- Week two - Monday 26, Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 February (three days)
- Week three - Monday 5, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March (four days)
- Week four - Monday 12, Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15 and Friday 16 March (five days)
Information and guidance
For students and parents, further information about the national strike action and advice for students can be found here.
Many teaching events are taking place as normal. The University may not be told in advance which teaching activities may be cancelled, so it is working hard to plan and update students throughout the strike period about measures to mitigate disruption.
For USS members, the University also has a duty to ensure staff are informed of the proposed pension reforms.
There are information sessions by independent pensions experts Mercer and further details about USS Pension Updates can be found on the For Staff website.
Further information for staff about the industrial action can be found in the For Staff In depth section.
The Vice-Chancellor's letter to staff on 8 March, about USS Pension reform, UCU Industrial Action and clarifying the University's approach to action short of a strike (ASOS), can be read here.