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Update on latest UCU industrial action

23 March 2018

In February, members of the University and College Union (UCU) at 61 universities took part in strike action over proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), a pension scheme for academic and professional staff. Talks are taking place nationally, on behalf of all universities, to resolve the situation.

On 13 March, after six days of talks at the conciliation service Acas, UCU rejected a proposal drawn up at talks between the union and Universities UK (UUK) to end the university pensions strike. The union is now calling for urgent negotiations with employers, represented by Universities UK (UUK), aimed at ending the dispute.

There are around 7,000 members of staff at Bristol of whom a percentage of academic and academic-related staff are members of UCU. Since the original proposals were put forward, Bristol has reconsidered its position on a number of key issues in response to the recent strength of view from our staff, Union colleagues and students about the valuation process and the employer proposal. Bristol has stated that it’s prepared to:

  • take more risk than indicated in our submission to the September 2017 valuation consultation;
  • make additional contributions to staff pensions, acknowledging that affordability will be a constraint which is exacerbated by the uncertainty surrounding the government's student fees and funding review; and
  • continue with defined benefits that will be financially sustainable.

In his latest statement, Vice-Chancellor and President Hugh Brady said:

'We are proud of our University’s world-class reputation for excellence in education, research and scholarship and wish to see this dispute resolved as soon as possible so that we can focus on our core mission.

The University wishes to reassure students and parents that we will continue to do everything we reasonably can to support our students and to mitigate the impact of the strike on their educational experience.’

You can keep up to date with the latest on the UCU strike online by reading our Frequently asked questions (FAQs).

You can find more information about the USS proposals and the potential impact on pensions on the UUK website.