Staff at Dundee University are set to strike later this month over a pensions dispute they say could leave members worse off in retirement.
Unison union members voted overwhelmingly to reject proposals from university bosses in March and decided to support strike action.
They said the changes to the pension scheme would leave members “retiring into poverty”, with the funds of those on the lowest wages cut by as much as 40%.
The proposals will see a pension scheme for staff such as cleaners, administration workers, and catering shut down.
It was also claimed higher-paid staff who are enrolled in a different scheme will be unaffected.
One employee in the administration department previously told The Courier the change could force her to delay her retirement.
Unison has now set a strike date for September 29 as it urged the university to reconsider.
Unison branch secretary Phil Welsh said the university still is not listening to staff over the dispute.
“The existing proposals will lead to staff retiring into pension poverty, with the university’s own figures suggesting a 40% cut in retirement incomes for scheme members.
Changes could ‘destroy retirement hopes of hundreds of workers’
He said: “We cannot allow this to happen, destroying the retirement hopes of hundreds of workers while trashing the reputation of this great university as an employer of choice in the city.”
Unison regional organiser Mo Dickson added: “Back in March the university promised staff it would listen to feedback and consider ideas.
“Unison has made a number of proposals which would save the university money and reduce its risks but these have been rejected at every turn.
“Instead it continues to insist that its lowest paid workers take on all future pension risks and pay for a situation not of their making.
Call for university to ditch proposals to avert strike
“We are calling on the university to ditch this proposal and start discussing a fair solution.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the University of Dundee said it was disappointing staff would go ahead with the strike just as students were returning.
A spokesperson said strike action will “only have a detrimental impact on our students at a time when we are welcoming them at the start of the academic year”.
They added: “We will do all we can to mitigate the impact on students, and meanwhile call on the unions to return to the consultation process.
“The consultation period on the University of Dundee Superannuation Scheme (UODSS) was extended at the unions’ request and is still scheduled to run to November 14.
University ‘disappointed’ strike action will go ahead
“We very much remain keen and open to discussion on proposals for the scheme.
“According to its latest valuation, UODSS has a significant deficit of around £55 million, and remains high risk and increasingly unaffordable to the university as the employer and to employees.
“This is why we are proposing a switch to a Defined Contribution scheme, replacing the current defined benefit scheme.
“The university’s initial proposal in March was improved after careful consideration of feedback received from our employees and revised proposals were offered at the end of July.
“It is also important to note that under the proposals benefits already accrued will not be affected.
It is also important to note that under the proposals benefits already accrued will not be affected.
“We have listened and carefully considered these but regret the proposed alternatives remain unaffordable and carry too high a risk for the university.
“Any changes also have to be acceptable to the scheme’s trustees.
“We have already committed to putting an extra £40million into the scheme over the next ten years to help address the deficit.”