Members at the University of Southampton will keep their pension scheme after strong campaigning by UNISON and the other campus unions.
The University had proposed to close PASNAS, the local final salary pension scheme for non-academic staff, from 1st August 2018 and replace it with an inferior defined contribution scheme. However, after a robust and effective union campaign the scheme will now remain open for current staff.
One members contacted us to say:
“A huge thank you to the UNISON team for leading such a terrific and robust fight back”,
But in reality the achievement was made possible by the collective actions of hundreds of members. Our opinions were clear. We did not believe the scheme to be in financial difficulty, any cut to pensions is a cut to pay, and all of us deserve a decent pension. We wanted PASNAS to remain open and ensure that all staff have decent financial security in retirement. Campaigning during the statutory consultation period included a survey of members and a petition. We organised a rally on campus that hundreds of staff and students attended. We had support from local Labour councillors, the local Labour MP, Alan Whitehead, and from UCU leader, Sally Hunt. At the end of the consultation, the University decided to retain the pension scheme for existing members, but still close it to new members from January 2019. Whilst still not ideal, this is an incredible shift in position by the University, and only made possible through strong trade union campaigning led by the members.
UNISON rep, Adrian Dolby said:
“We welcome the change in the plans as a massive step in the right direction, but we will keep campaigning for improved pensions for all. Everybody deserves a decent pension”.
Glyn Jenkins, Head of Pensions UNISON, said:
“It is a significant victory. It shows that when we engage enough staff to respond change is possible”.