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Lecturers at St Andrews to hand out 'pensions cake' in row over pension changes

19 October 2011 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Members of UCU at St Andrews University will share out a 'pensions cake' at 1pm today.

The event is happening at the main gate to St Salvator's College, North St, St Andrews.
The cake symbolises the different pensions new members of staff, and those who take career breaks, will receive following changes imposed to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) at the start of October.
The lunchtime protest is part of UCU's industrial action campaign against the imposed changes to their pensions that will see them pay more to work longer with less protection should they lose their job. UCU members across Scotland are currently 'working to contract', which means they simply work to the terms of their contract (including their obligation to perform their duties in an efficient manner). The action has hit 67 universities across the UK.
The union has warned that if the current action does not force negotiations then the action will escalate to include rolling strikes and a boycott of student assessment. In two referendums over 90% of scheme members who voted, voted against the changes and in the industrial action ballot over three-quarters (77%) of UCU members backed a sustained industrial action campaign.
Full details on the dispute, what working to contract means and how the action may develop can be found at: www.ucu.org.uk/ussdisputebriefing
St Andrews UCU President Chris Hooley said: 'The pensions cake is being unfairly distributed up as new members receive an even smaller share and current members see their slices shrinking. We are keen to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible with minimal disruption. However, you cannot negotiate with an empty chair and if the employers' representatives refuse to talk then we will look to escalate our action.'