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Members' Business — S6M-04187 Maggie Chapman: Supporting Striking University Staff

Thursday 12 May 2022 12:51 PM

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That the Parliament notes reports that staff are taking part in two sets of industrial action in two industrial disputes at a number of universities in the North East Scotland region, and across the country; understands that these are over pension cuts and falling pay, gender and ethnicity pay gaps, precarious employment practices, and unsafe workloads, known as the Four Fights; believes that cuts to pensions of an average of 35% are going ahead on the basis of an outdated valuation of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension fund; understands that this valuation was made during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the economy, and that the health of the fund has recovered significantly since then; appreciates that the trustee that manages the scheme has reportedly confirmed that a new valuation at this point could result in benefits being increased, rather than cut; notes with regret that university management has reportedly rejected proposals made by the Universities and College Union (UCU) that are deemed to be “viable and implementable” by the USS; understands that, in a recent survey of UK higher education staff, two thirds said that they were considering leaving the sector over cuts to pensions and attacks on pay and working conditions; notes the calls on the management of all educational institutions involved in both the pensions and Four Fights disputes to engage constructively with staff and the unions to resolve the disputes, and notes the view that reversals of pension and pay cuts and urgent action against casualisation, gender and ethnicity inequalities in pay and promotions, and against unsafe workloads, are in the best interests of university staff, students, Scottish universities and Scotland as a whole.

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