University pensions - conflict ahead

07 Jul 2010

Proposals for changes to the pensions of university academic staff  - including raising the normal pension age to 65 - will now go forward to the Universities Superannuation Scheme after the employers' proposals triumphed over the union's recommendations at the Joint Negotiating Committee.

After the JNC failed to agree on the two conflicting recommendations, the independent chairman - Sir Andrew Cubie - used his casting vote to favour the employers' plans. 

The University and College  Union has warned that universities should now brace themselves for 'serious industrial action'. It denounced the employers' proposals as 'draconian'.

The proposals to change the scheme include:

  • a normal pension age of 65 for new entrants and for future service of existing members
  • existing members over 55 to be exempt from changes to the normal pension age
  • the normal pension age to be linked to increases in the state pension age
  • a flexible retirement scheme to be introduced which will be available to members from age 55
  • the employee contribution rate for members of the final salary section to increase to 7.5%
  • pension increases (for those already in payment) to rise with the Consumer Prices Index subject to a 5% cap
  • pensions in deferment to rise by CPI or 2.5% whichever is lower
  • a career average revalued benefits (CARE) benefits structure  implemented for new entrants
  • contributions for CARE members to be 6.5%.

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