Responding to the University and College Union (UCU) decision to take strike action for 14 days in February and March, a spokesperson for Universities UK, representing USS employers, said:
“We regret that UCU are planning further strike action at a time when positive talks on the future of the scheme are making significant progress and are ongoing. Despite this, UCU continue to request that employers pay still higher contributions at unaffordable levels.
“By law, pension costs had to rise to maintain current benefits. Employers have agreed to cover 65% of these increased costs, taking their contribution to 21.1% of salaries from October 2019 - together committing £250m more a year. Members have been asked to make a fair contribution too.
“The best way forward is to work collectively to secure a pension scheme that is highly valued and affordable for all. The current tripartite talks between UCU, USS, and UUK, which are set to continue at least until March, are building a shared understanding on the future of the scheme, jointly developing governance reforms and considering alternative pathways for the 2020 valuation.
“Universities will put in place a series of measures to minimise the impact of industrial action on students, other staff and the wider community.”