University staff reject union deal on pensions

Image credit Will Tilbrook

Since the proposal was released on Monday afternoon, 48 university branches of the UCU have rejected the deal, with this number set to rise as more committee meetings are held to discuss the proposal.

The interim arrangement being considered by UUK and UCU, which if agreed will come in effect as early as April next year, will require employers and members to pay higher contributions.

Universities would be expected to re-schedule classes that have been disrupted by the strike.

The union is now calling for urgent negotiations with the universities' representatives, Universities UK, aimed at resolving the dispute.

Hundreds of academics protested outside the UCU's London headquarters, chanting and letting off flares.

The rejection came after academics and individual branches of the UCU condemned the final deal as "a huge betrayal of our sacrifice", with nearly 10,000 people having signed an open letter criticising the UCU leadership's negotiated position at the time of writing.

The Oxford UCU branch has also added its voice to the revolt, describing the agreement as a "pathetic offer", before urging negotiators to go "back to the table".

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Individual universities' UCUs are voting overwhelmingly to reject a deal struck with Universities UK that would have brought an end to the ongoing lecturer strikes.

"We've had some great support over the past few days. We've got to stay standing in solidarity".

"Branches made it clear today that they wanted to reject the proposal", she said.

The petition continues, "Furthermore, the UCU is effectively calling on us to both reschedule as well as calling off the action before having put it to the membership, two positions that are absolutely unacceptable".

This morning, Cambridge UCU convened for an emergency meeting - the largest in the union's history, one speaker claimed - and voted with a wide margin to reject the national agreement. In the meantime, strike action will continue for the remainder of this week as the union begins making detailed preparations for 14 additional days of strikes over the assessment and exam period. "The strike remains on".

Strikes will continue as planned this week and the examination period is under increasing threat of further disruption, after the University and College Union (UCU) rejected proposals to suspend strikes this evening.

This article was updated at 1615, to include UCU's rejection of the proposed deal following pressure from its local branches, and a statement from Garrick Taylor.

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