Sheffield University members to ballot on strike action

(03/05/11) Some 2,000 UNISON members at Sheffield University will begin balloting over strike action this week to protect their pensions.

The university is looking at closing its current final salary scheme and offering members a ‘cash balance’ scheme, which could see staff getting half what they’re entitled to under the current scheme when they retire.

For example, a member of the university staff on £15,000 a year – who had worked and paid into the scheme for 40 years – could currently get half their final salary as a pension: £7,500.

Under the new proposals, that could drop to a mere £3,750. But UNISON says senior managers would continue to benefit from a final salary superannuation scheme.

“If you’ve been paying into a pension fund all your working life and you’re suddenly told what you were expecting is going to be halved, you’re going to be pretty angry,” commented UNISON’s Alan Hughes, accusing the university of trying to save money “at the expense of its lowest paid staff”.

The union is balloting around 2,000 cleaners, porters, caterers and clerical staff to take strike action over the plans to slash their pensions.


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