Union vows to resist Bangor university pension threat

Move against value of support workers’ pensions is ‘pretty shabby’, says UNISON

Bangor University

UNISON has vowed to resist “pretty shabby” plans by Bangor University to cut the pensions of its lowest paid staff.

University management is proposing to cut its contribution to the pensions of its lowest paid staff, while leaving the workers’ contribution at the level they are now, and reducing members’ benefits when they retire.

The move is aimed only at non-academic staff – clerical workers, IT staff, lab workers, cleaners, caterers, security staff and more – leading UNISON locally to say the university has “shown how little it values the role of support workers”.

UNISON Cymru/Wales regional organiser Wendy Allison added: “It’s pretty shabby to cut the pensions of only your lowest paid staff. The prestige of the university is built by all of its employees, but Bangor is treating support staff as second-class employees.”

The university its proposals are necessary to deal with rising pension costs, but the union argues that the pension scheme is performing well and is in surplus.

UNISON made suggestions to resolve the issue without reducing the pensions of support staff. But it says these have been “rashly” dismissed, while the university’s analysis of the pension scheme is flawed and based on outdated assumptions.

“Pensions are deferred wages which people have worked hard to receive,” said Ms Allison. “We will not allow the university to plunge employees into financial difficulty in their retirement.

“Bangor staff were already reeling from the news before Christmas that 60 jobs will go, and now the university has doubled their misery.

UNISON Cymru/Wales press release: Job cuts will damage Bangor University (13 December 2018)