‘We’ll fight for University staff’s pensions’ say UNISON

Trade Union bosses are fighting for a fair wage package for University workers. Photo: Katie Davies

Trade Union bosses have slammed University of Sheffield’s pensions scheme and vowed to fight to ensure all their members receive a proper pension package.

Currently, the University has its own pensions scheme which members sign up to, while Sheffield Hallam University’s workers are part of a local government scheme.

UNISON, the trade union representing the workers, say the University’s pension scheme could pay members only 40 per cent of what they had been expecting.

UNISON Regional Organiser Steve Torrance said: “What the university have done with the pension scheme is a heartless, cynical manoeuvre. The University claims it is all about reducing risk, but the pensions of grades one to five represent a tiny proportion of the University’s pension risk.”

The University of Sheffield was named University of the Year by Times Higher Education, but their support staff now have the worst pension of any workers in higher education, UNISON claim.

UNISON Branch Secretary Stuart Anderson said: “This is morally repugnant. The University of Sheffield is not the bricks and mortar of the building, it is the people, and when the University’s leaders feel that it is right to push the lowest paid workers into pensions poverty it damages the institution as a whole.

“UNISON will not stay silent while its members and the good name of the University they work so hard for are degraded.”

The trade union urges the University to become a member of the SAUL pension scheme, which oversees the pensions of over 50 colleges and institutions linked to higher education including University College London.

The response from UNISON comes as the University have appointed Capita Hartshead to look after its 3,000 member pension scheme for non-academic staff.

The Sheffield-based business has been at the centre of an employment tribunal which ruled that they had unfairly dismissed an employee who was made redundant after the pensions she was working on were wound up by the company.

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