Deal struck in university pensions row

Hundreds of striking lecturers and academic staff protest outside the UCU's London HQ

Hundreds of striking lecturers and academic staff protest outside the UCU's London HQ

University lecturers could return to work as early as tomorrow after sides in a dispute over pensions reached an agreement.

If the terms are accepted at a meeting of union representatives on Tuesday, the strike will be suspended.

The action has disrupted studies at more than 60 universities and strikes have seen lectures cancelled and threats to end-of-year exams and assessments.

The agreement would mean a new, independent re-evaluation of the pension deficit and temporary arrangements to tackle the shortfall.

The universities minister Sam Gyimah had called for students to be given refunds on fees for lost teaching time.

Members of staff at universities across the country have been striking in protest at changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

After ten days of industrial action by teaching staff, vice-chancellors seemed to back down on plans to scrap their generous defined benefit pension scheme and said that they would increase university pension contributions to nearly 20 per cent of salaries for three years.

The proposed changes to pensions would be put on hold - and a temporary deal would tackle the deficit, with talks to re-open on long-term pension arrangements from 2020.

Under the deal agreed on Monday, universities would be expected to reschedule classes disrupted by the strike.

UCU representatives will meet on Tuesday - with an expectation that if they back the deal the strike would be suspended from Wednesday.

But there have been calls on social media for university staff to reject the deal announced by their union's leadership.

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