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Universities UK has called for further talks with the University and College Union on the 27th of February, raising hopes of an early resolution to the industrial action. The employer said:
“It is of paramount importance that both sides make every effort to meet despite the ongoing industrial action, to stop any impact and disruption to students.”
“Universities UK has never refused to continue to try to find an affordable, mutually acceptable solution. We would be willing to discuss a credible proposal that addresses the significant financial issues the scheme is facing.”
“The problem that we share as interested parties in USS is that to continue to offer current benefits, contributions would have to rise by about £1bn per annum. The scheme has a £6.1bn deficit and there has been an increase of more than a third in the cost of future pensions.”
Responding to the statement from UUK, UCU said it would certainly be attending as it had been calling for talks for weeks. The strike action planned for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday is still on according to the union
However, it said that unless the employers were prepared to talk about the January decision to slash pensions then it did not see how the dispute could be resolved. In its statement UUK said “talks would not re-open the Joint Negotiating Committee decision made on 23 January”.
University and College Union general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘Because this is so serious for students and for staff we will of course attend. I am however very concerned that UUK has explicitly ruled out discussing the imposed changes that have caused the strikes.
‘The universities minister was very clear that he wanted talks without preconditions and we hope UUK will reconsider his words before we meet on Tuesday. We remain committed to serious negotiations aimed at resolving this dispute.’
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