Belfast Telegraph

Lecturers to strike in pensions row

Lecturers at Northern Ireland's two universities will take strike action on Monday and Thursday to protest against revised pensions arrangements.

Staff at Queen's University Belfast and the University of Ulster will participate.

The dispute centres on attempts to raise the retirement age, increase contributions for members and end the final salary element of the scheme.

It is part of UK-wide action which sees protests in England, Scotland and Wales culminating in all areas walking out on Thursday.

University and College Union (UCU) general secretary Sally Hunt said: "University staff really value their pension rights and have made it clear from the start of this dispute that if the employers were not prepared to negotiate then we would be left with little option but to take strike action.

"Strike action is always a last resort and we have always wanted to meet the employers to avoid widespread disruptions.

"However, both sides had to be prepared to go that extra mile and the employers clearly weren't. I share the frustration that students must be feeling at the employers' intransigence."

A spokesman for the Employers' Pensions Forum for Higher Education said the action was damaging.

"UCU claims that it is striking because the employers refuse to negotiate on pension changes.

"In fact there have been three years of negotiations between the university employers and the UCU to agree to moderate changes designed to address financial pressures on the scheme created by the improved life expectancy of retired members and other factors," he said.


From Belfast Telegraph