Unite anger over University of Dundee imposing ‘pension poverty’
- Friday 26 August 2022
Striking workers fight against £5,700 pension cut
Unite Scotland has today (26 August) angrily reacted to the University of Dundee confirming that it will forge ahead with detrimental pension changes.
Over 100 Unite members are on continuous strike action since yesterday (25 August). The workers include technicians, administrators, student support staff and estates staff such as plumbers, joiners and electricians.
Unite estimates that the pension changes for Grades 1-6 at the University of Dundee will see some pensions drop dramatically from £20,100 to £14,400 per annum. A massive drop of £5,700.
The swathing cuts to pension income for the workers comes at a time when Ofgem raised the energy price cap to £3,549. Broader inflation (RPI) has also soared to hit a forty-year high of 12.3 per cent with warnings that headline inflation (CPI) could reach 18 per cent by the start of next year.
Unite members previously supported taking further strike action by 83 per cent in a ballot turnout of 66 per cent.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The decision by the University of Dundee Court to impose these massive cuts will plunge our members into pension poverty at a time when the cost of living and energy costs are soaring. Our members will have Unite’s full support throughout the strike action in defence of their pensions in order to get this disgraceful decision reversed. We make no apologies for standing up for the jobs, pay and conditions of our members.”
The dispute stems from the University’s decision in March 2021 to propose the closure of the Defined Benefit Pensions Scheme to Grades 1-6 and replace it with a Defined Contributions Scheme, meaning the lowest paid workers would lose up to 50 per cent of their pension, plunging them into “pension poverty”.
Following 11 days of strike by Unite Members in October 2021, the University withdrew their proposals for a Defined Contribution Scheme.
Unite regional officer Susan Robertson added: “The imposition of the pension changes will mean that some University workers are set to lose up to £5,700 a year in retirement. Our members will have to work longer, pay in more and receive less in retirement income. This is in stark contrast to higher pay grades who will have their pensions protected. Unite only heard that these changes had been imposed through an email to staff. The University didn’t even afford us the courtesy of directly informing us which is shameful. I am proud of our members taking a stand for a second time and Unite will continue to support our members taking strike action throughout the coming weeks.”
Notes to Editor
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Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.