Delegation of University workers to meet with MSPs to gather support in dispute over pensions

Unite can confirm that they will today (3 November) take a delegation of workers to the Scottish Parliament to meet with a cross party group of MSPs to gain support in their long running pensions dispute with the University of Dundee.

The dispute stems from the University’s decision in March 2021 to propose the closure of the Defined Benefits Scheme and replace it with a Defined Contribution Scheme resulting in the lowest paid workers losing up to 50 per cent of their pension.   

The dispute goes back to October 2021 when Unite Members took part in 11 days of strike action resulting in the University withdrawing the proposals and talks re-opened. However the ‘new’ proposals still meant that some workers’ pensions would drop from £20,100 to £14,400 per annum. Despite continued support from Councillors and MSP’s and submissions by Unite, University Court has decided it will impose the new proposals from January 2023.  Following this announcement Unite members have held continuous strike action since 25 August 2022.

Each Member of the University’s Executive Group receives more in pension contributions than most of the lowest paid full time staff get paid as their total salary each year and receive salaries ranging from £120,000 per annum up to £250,000 per annum.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite will not let this institution rip off our members while the Principal and Executive team reap the rewards. This is a public institution. I’m sure the public at large would have more sympathy with the plight of our members than with this team who are paying themselves plenty from the public purse while plunging the workers into pension poverty.

Unite regional officer Susan Robertson said: “The University Principal and his Executive Team have done absolutely nothing to end this dispute and despite making it abundantly clear that Court will not be reversing their decision, the Principal has the audacity to tell local Councillors and MSP’s that he has always been open to discussion. They have in actual fact worsened the whole situation.

“The University’s Executive Group has treated Unite members with absolute contempt during this dispute. They messed up the payroll for striking workers, deducting too many strike days from wages with Unite having to step in to ensure members mortgages, rents etc were paid. In another example the university made a commitment to pay overtime in August which has still not been paid. They have created an utter shambles in almost all of the unions dealings with them. The Executive is not only overpaid, but incompetent and their apologies are insincere."