The UUK and UCU have arrived at a new agreement following the unanimous rejection of the agreement reached during the first round of talks. UCU members will now vote on whether to continue or end industrial action
The agreement, reached today (Friday, 23rd March), includes new concessions such as a jointly agreed expert panel who will decide the key principles and underpin the decisions of UUK and the UCU in relation to USS funding.
Related: UCU reject deal- strikes to continue
The current system of pension benefits will therefore remain in place until at least April 2019 in order to allow for this expert valuation.
The panel will have the power to propose a new pensions scheme, taking into account the importance of defined benefit schemes on the higher education sector. It will also reform the negotiating process so that talks between UCU and UUK as as "constructive" as possible.
In a letter to members, UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said; "I have spoken today to UCU’s Superannuation Working Group who are agreed that this statement should go to members and that – in line with our previous practice – USS branches should be recalled to a briefing on Wednesday, 28 March to provide initial feedback on your response.
"It will then be for the Higher Education Committee to decide on the further process for consulting members via a ballot. We have worked hard to gain these concessions, but they were won on the back of the strike action that so many of you have taken.
"As always it will be for members to decide whether what has been achieved is sufficient to suspend our strike action"
The new agreement between UCU and UUK contains several key concessions that were absent from the first deal, though it remains to be seen whether local UCU branches across the 61 striking Universities will accept the new deal.
You can read the deal in full here.