Higher education: Hull members protest against pension cuts

Low-paid staff could lose as much as £1,000 a year in retirement

UNISON and Unite members line a corridor as part of a protest against pension changes at Hull university

University of Hull senate members faced a determined protest yesterday by low-paid staff who could lose as much as £1,000 a year in retirement after changes to their pensions.

The protest at the senate meeting saw porters, mail room workers, student support, grounds and maintenance workers and administrative assistants give up their lunchtimes to protest against senior management’s decision to close the university’s final salary scheme and move them to a defined contribution scheme.

Under the new scheme, their pensions will depend on how much money is available to buy an annuity when they retire – and the state of the market at the time.

But higher paid staff, including senior managers, will get a better pension because they will still be in a defined benefit scheme.

Find out more about defined contribution and defined benefit pensions

UNISON, Unite and teaching union UCU have launched a joint campaign calling on university management to negotiate a fairer pension scheme for lower paid staff.

“We are calling for the University of Hull to enter talks with a view to making pensions fairer for every member of staff,” said UNISON regional organiser Leonie Sharp.

“It’s not right or fair that those who earn the least should be barred from entering the same pension scheme that academics in senior management receive.”

UNISON is seeking legal advice on the pension changes, and all three unions say they will continue the campaign until management enter into negotiations.

“We won’t be satisfied until every member of staff at the University of Hull has a quality pension for their retirement,” said Ms Sharp.