Bangor University staff celebrate victory in pensions dispute

Management had planned to cut pension benefits by up to 12% for support staff before UNISON campaign

Support staff at Bangor University have declared victory after a UNISON-organised campaign convinced management to rethink plans to downgrade the workers’ pensions.

A Hands off our Pensions rally was scheduled to be held at noon today, as the university’s executive committee was meeting to decide whether to go ahead with cuts to pension benefits of up to 12% for clerical workers, IT and lab staff, cleaners, caterers, security staff and other low-paid staff.

There were no plans to reduce the pensions of Bangor’s higher-paid staff, including lecturers and executive managers.

The staff trade unions had provided the university with a viable alternative, allowing it to save costs while protecting members’ pensions, but pension trustees had ruled this out.

And having responded to a management call for feedback on the proposals, members were planning to show how “incensed” they were at the rally.

This morning, however, the management issued a statement.

“Following careful consideration of the feedback received on proposals to change the university’s local pension scheme (BUPAS), the executive has today decided that the scheme will remain unchanged.

“The university listened carefully to the responses provided by staff and is grateful to everyone who engaged constructively with the consultation process.”

Responding to the announcement, UNISON Cymru/Wales regional organiser Wendy Allison described it as “a tremendous victory.

“We’ve tapped into a strong sense of injustice amongst support staff who have come out in droves to respond to the university consultation that the changes are unjust and unfair. We are glad Bangor has seen sense and dropped the proposals.

“We hope this sends an important message to the institution that support staff should not be treated as second-class employees and UNISON looks forward to a positive working relationship with Bangor University.”