UK university strikes to continue as academics reject pensions deal

A strike by university academics which had led to disruption for students at more than 60 UK campuses is to continue after union members rejected a deal drawn up to end a bitter dispute over pensions.

On Tuesday, the University and College Union (UCU), the trade body for academics and higher education staff, said its union branches had “made it clear” that they did not accept an agreement brokered with university employer chiefs on Monday.

The deal, agreed after six days of talks with Universities UK at ACAS, had proposed keeping guaranteed pension benefits for members but watering them down from April next year, prompting member protests outside UCU headquarters in London on Tuesday.

“Branches made it clear today that they wanted to reject the proposal,” said Sally Hunt, general secretary of the UCU.

“UCU’s greatest strength is that we are run by and for our members and it is right that members always have the final say.”

“The strike action for this week remains on and we will now make detailed preparations for strikes over the assessment and exam period. We want urgent talks with the universities’ representatives to try and find a way to get this dispute resolved.”