Clare College Cambridge

Statement by Fellows on the Pensions dispute

The following is a statement by Fellows of the College on the Pensions dispute. It is informal: it is not issued on behalf of the College, by the Master, by Governing Body or by the Trustees. It is also non-partisan: some Fellows are participating in strike action, others are not; but Fellows are agreed in wishing to make this statement:

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The Fellowship of Clare is acutely concerned by the present dispute over the future of academic pensions, and by its implications for university education at Cambridge and throughout the United Kingdom. A sound and attractive pensions scheme has long been vital to the recruitment of academics at all levels: it has offered an incentive to long-term commitment to an academic career and compensation for lower earnings expectations than are available in many comparable professions. The present proposals to abolish defined benefits and place individual pensions at the mercy of market valuation at the time of retirement are a severe blow, especially to those in early or mid career; there is also the danger that the present proposals will deter the very best academics from applying to Cambridge and other leading UK universities.  

Resolution of the dispute will require energy and imagination from all parties – Universities UK, the University and College Union, the Trustees of the University Superannuation Scheme, and the Pensions Regulator. It is vital that all involved should continue to engage in serious negotiation, and in particular commit the time and resources required to make possible thorough investigation of alternative proposals, with the shared aim both of securing existing pensions and of ensuring stable pension expectations in the future.

The Statutes of Clare College commit its Fellows to pursuit of the public good by the promotion of education, learning and research. Our ability, and that of our colleagues elsewhere, to fulfil this commitment has in recent years been challenged by a series of measures which have sapped morale and have rendered the profession less attractive to talented people who may wish to enter it in future. Of such measures, the proposed changes to pensions are among the most damaging. In calling for continued negotiation, we reaffirm our commitment to our core purposes as an educational charity, to the benefit of our students and the wider public.