Unions have urged the Scottish Government to stop Dundee’s universities from introducing “unfair” changes to pensions.
They claim Dundee University’s proposals would disproportionately affect low-paid and female staff.
Abertay’s meanwhile, they say, would close off access to a quality, defined benefit pension scheme (SLGPS) to research, professional and support staff.
Mary Senior, UCU Scotland official said: “Pensions are deferred pay, and we are deeply alarmed that both employers are trying to attack staff pensions in this way.
“Dundee is one of the most deprived areas in Scotland, with lower life expectancy levels.
“Now the university employers are attempting to reduce pensions benefits so staff will be worse off in retirement.”
Dundee University is proposing to shut down a pension scheme for staff such as cleaners, administration workers, and caterers.
It could see retirement funds cut by as much as 40%.
Abertay’s plans would see a two-tier workforce, potentially costing people thousands of pounds per year in their retirement.
Lorcan Mullen, Unison Scotland’s higher education lead officer said: “The proposed attacks on support staff pensions at Dundee University are outrageous, and cannot be reconciled with the Scottish Government’s Fair Work agenda.
“It is particularly obnoxious that the lowest paid staff are facing this attack, while the senior management pushing this proposal retain their defined benefit pension scheme.
“We are calling for these proposals to be withdrawn, and for serious talks to begin with unions on a fair long-term solution.”
The unions have also warned industrial action is a real possibility.
Alison MacLean, Unite regional officer, added: “The reality of these proposals will be the loss of thousands of pounds per year for workers when they retire.
“The sector is already trapped in a low pay and precarious work situation.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said matters relating to staff, pay and pensions, are for universities themselves to determine.
They added: “Ministers expect employers to adhere to Fair Work principles and ensure that unions are fully and properly consulted on all significant matters affecting staff.
“Industrial action is in no-one’s best interests, including students, and Ministers would expect management and unions to make every effort to reach a settlement.”
Neither Abertay or Dundee universities responded to requests for comment.