A union has accused Dundee University of stripping away pension cash from hundreds of low-paid and mostly female workers.
The proposals will see a pension scheme for staff such as cleaners, administration workers, and catering shut down.
Unison say this means those on the lowest wages could see retirement funds slashed by up to 40%.
Meanwhile higher-paid staff, who are enrolled in a different scheme, will be unaffected.
An employee in the administration department, who wished to remain anonymous, said she could now be many more years away from retirement.
“I could potentially receive 25% less than I expected now,” she said.
“I’ve worked here for 25 years, I’m just shocked they would treat me this way.
“The pension scheme affected is for people on lower wages while academics and managers are on a different scheme.”
Dundee University says it is conducting a consultation and nothing will be finalised until after this is complete.
Under the plans, senior management will remain part of the national Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).
But lower paid workers on grades 1-6 will only be able to join a new, much cheaper, locally-defined contribution scheme from August 1.
Low-paid workers should ‘not be made to suffer’
Dundee University UNISON branch secretary Phil Welsh said pension poverty is “very real” and questioned the reasoning behind the changes.
He said: “The slashing of the current pension scheme is laser targeted at the lowest paid members of staff, while management will remain unaffected by these changes.
“Hard working mostly female employees working in catering, cleaning, security, administration and library roles should not be made to suffer while others can look forward to a longer and more comfortable retirement.
“The speed of these changes and lack of consultation with staff unions suggests a management that has not thought this through properly.
“We urge management to shelve these ill-judged proposals and get round the table to talk directly to the unions.”
He added it would leave staff with “by far the worst pensions” of any education employees in Tayside.
Unison is consulting with its members and has not ruled out industrial action.
The university says it is still finalising the proposals.
A spokesperson said: “The university is proposing to make changes to the current UODSS (University of Dundee Superannuation and Life Assurance Scheme) pension arrangements and we have started a formal consultation process today with staff who are in the scheme.
“The consultation period runs until May 14, and nothing will be finalised until after the consultation period ends. All representations from current and eligible members of UODSS and the campus trade unions will be considered before any decisions are made.
“If this proposal goes ahead, from 1 August 2021 a new Defined Contribution arrangement will be put in place and current members of UODSS and those staff eligible to join the scheme will be offered this new arrangement.
“The benefits members have already built up within UODSS are protected and are not affected by the proposed changes.”
They also commonly needed to deal with extra childcare duties during the first coronavirus lockdown in spring last year.