100 signatures reached
To: The UCLAN Vice Chancellor and University Board
Fair Pensions for ALL Staff at UCLAN
Staff in Professional Services are the bedrock of the University we keep the classrooms, lecture theatres and the whole campus clean and safe, we ensure that students get the support they need, we keep the IT systems running, we ensure student records are up to date and accurate, we provide technical and laboratory services, work in partnership with our academic colleagues for the greater good of our students and much more. In short without us then the university cannot function and provide the first class teaching and research on which it prides itself. During the pandemic and at other difficult times we pull out all of the stops to keep the university going and how are we repaid for this dedication and loyalty? It seems by threats to the long term economic health of our future colleagues.
A Defined Contribution (DC) scheme will leave staff with an inferior pension when they retire. This will inevitably lead to:
• A two tier workforce in which staff in Professional Services have a lower pension in retirement than Academic colleagues.
• Higher rates of pensioner poverty in the local area in future years with wider implications not just for the retiring staff but for the area as those living in poverty will spend less in local shops and businesses and are more likely to need help from already overstretched services.
Therefore We are calling on the Vice Chancellor and the University Board to withdraw their proposal to end access to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) for new starters in Professional Services and to value us equally with our academic colleagues.
Why is this important?
UCLan has stated its intention to move from a Defined Benefit Pension Scheme (LGPS) to a Defined Contribution (DC) Pension Scheme for new starters in Professional Services, there are no proposals to change the pension arrangements for our academic colleagues. We believe this is wrong because:
• The LGPS rules require UCLan to offer LGPS membership to their employees, UCLan intend to get around this rule by employing new starters in a separate company.
• The change will lead to a two-tier workforce in pensions, with new starters in Professional Services being offered inferior and less cost-effective pensions.
• The contribution rates will be lower than those for LGPS and TPS (the main scheme for our academic colleagues).
• DC schemes pay out less than DB schemes such as LGPS and TPS meaning staff doing exactly the same job will come out with much lower pensions in the future.
• The change will affect younger, lower-paid and women members of staff disproportionately.
• Access to the pension scheme is part of the remuneration package offering an inferior pension scheme to new starters with lower employer contribution rates is potentially discriminatory yet the university has not conducted an equality impact assessment.
• In the short term, the cost of setting up inferior pension arrangements could reduce any potential savings to UCLan. At a time of limited recruitment, the savings they make from this change will be negligible.
• The number of pensioners living in poverty in the UK is the worst in Europe, for staff to avoid pensioner poverty they need a decent workplace pension to supplement the very low state pension.
• If more employers like UCLan close membership of the scheme to new starters this could lead to serious cash flow problems for LGPS funds, with a shortfall in contributions at the same time as the number of pensioners increase.
• UCLAN is signed up to the “Preston Model” of Community Wealth Building within Preston and the wider Lancashire area. By withdrawing access to the LGPS the university will be instrumental in increasing pensioner poverty in the area in the years to come, how does this fit with the Preston model?
We are calling on UCLAN to withdraw this decision and ensure that all staff who work for them get the decent pension which they rightly deserve.