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Northern Ireland lecturers to vote on strike over pensions

By Colin O'Carroll

Lecturers in scores of universities including Northern Ireland are to be balloted over industrial action.

The action will include a marking boycott and a refusal to set exams in a row over pensions.

Members of the University and College Union in 67 universities will vote in the next few weeks on whether to launch a campaign of action in protest over changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the pension scheme for staff at the UK's "old" universities, including those in the Russell Group, which includes Queen's University.

The union warned that any action would stop students being set coursework or receiving formal marks and feedback, as well as halting exams.

The UCU claimed "radical" pension changes put forward by employers have been prompted by an expected deficit in the USS scheme, but the union said the methodology used to determine the deficit was too simplistic.

Lecturers would see tens of thousands of pounds a year wiped off their pensions if proposals were introduced, they said.

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