Lecturers’ pension strike to affect Magee

Ulster University, Magee.
Ulster University, Magee.
Share this article

Lecturers at Magee have voted to take part in a wave of rolling strikes starting next month unless there’s an eleventh hour resolution to an ongoing pensions dispute.

University and College Union (UCU) members across Ulster University’s four campuses, including Magee, have voted by a large majority in favour of strike action in a row over changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

The UCU has claimed Universities UK’s (UUK) decision to change the scheme from a ‘defined benefit scheme’ to a ‘defined contribution scheme’, subject to changes in the stock market, would cost an average retiring lecturer £200,000.

Teachers at 61 universities in the North and Britain are set to take part in the industrial action.

Of 214 at Ulster University, 165 (77.1 per cent) voted in favour of a strike.

The UCU said the first strikes would most likely start with a two-day walkout over February 22/23.

“The action would then escalate to three-day, four-day and five-day walkouts in future weeks.”

A Universities UK (UUK) spokesperson said: “The prospect of industrial action at 61 out of the 68 higher education institutions balloted by UCU is disappointing as talks between employers and the union on USS pension reform continue. A solution to the significant funding challenges facing USS needs to be found. UUK’s priority is to put USS on a secure and sustainable footing while offering attractive, market-leading pensions - the very best that can be afforded by both employers and employees.”

In a statement, Ulster University said: “The required consultation with scheme members will commence in mid March and is expected to run for 60 days.

“Agreed changes would come into effect no earlier than April 1, 2019.

“The University has not yet received notification of industrial action, but if this arises we would take measures to minimise any disruption to the student experience across our campuses.”