MPs back workers in pensions dispute

Unite and Unison protest Sheffield University .
Unite and Unison protest Sheffield University .

SHEFFIELD MPs are backing a pensions protest by hundreds of lower paid staff at Sheffield University which is due to lead to another 24-hour walk out tomorrow (Friday).

SHEFFIELD MPs are backing a pensions protest by hundreds of lower paid staff at Sheffield University which is due to lead to another 24-hour walk out tomorrow (Friday).

Porters, cleaners, security staff and office workers are taking action to try to stop the University Council closing the current pension scheme, which objectors say will halve already meagre pensions. A new Cash Balance Scheme is being proposed.

Those on higher salaries - including Vice Chancellor Keith Burnett, who earns £294,000 per year - will continue to benefit from the Universities Superannuation Scheme and its final salary pension provision.

MPs Clive Betts, David Blunkett, Paul Blomfield, Meg Munn and Angela Smith have written to Mr Burnett stating: “It seems fundamentally wrong to discriminate between different grades of staff in the way the university is proposing to do. This proposal seems both divisive and unfair.”

They add: “The package goes significantly further than the proposals made by Lord Hutton for public service pensions schemes in general.”

A university spokesperson said the rising risk and cost of pension provision meant the scheme was no longer sustainable and affordable, and the changes followed a thorough review and consultation with staff and unions.