Unions protest at university final salary pensions plans

Members of Unite and Unison protesting outside Firth Court at Sheffield University over proposals to cut pensions for the lower-paid workers. Hazel Basford holding a flag
Members of Unite and Unison protesting outside Firth Court at Sheffield University over proposals to cut pensions for the lower-paid workers. Hazel Basford holding a flag
0
Have your say

HUNDREDS of angry University of Sheffield staged a protest over their pensions.

Union bosses say lower paid workers’ pensions face being cut by up to 50 per cent while payments for those on higher salaries will be maintained.

University bosses say they need to amend the way pensions are paid to ensure provision for staff remains affordable, sustainable and attractive to members in the face of funding cuts and higher tuition fees.

The University Executive Board recommended to the University Council that it closes the current final salary scheme and replaces it with a cash balance scheme.

Unions say the recommendation, if implemented, would halve the pensions for the lowest paid staff on grades one to five.

But they say staff in grade six and above, including the Vice-Chancellor and senior management, will continue to benefit from membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

Angry workers lobbied the meeting and warned ballots for industrial action will be held should the University Council press ahead, which could lead to a strike.

Unison secretary Sue Creswell said: “Around 70 per cent of those affected will be women.

“It is unfair and it is wrong. This is not the type of thing we expect from the university.”

Unite’s Martin Bentley said: “Following this year’s pay rise of 0.4 per cent the last thing the lowest paid at this institution need is an unfair and inequitable onslaught on their deferred pay.

“A member of support staff earning £15,000 per year under the cash balance proposals could expect to receive a pension in retirement after 40 years service of approximately £3,750.

“In the current USPS scheme the same member of staff could expect a pension of £7,500.”