HIGHER education staff have voted to end a long-running dispute over pensions which led to a series of strikes.

The University and College Union (UCU) said it was a “momentous” day, following 69 days of strikes since 2018.

The union announced that 99% of its 19,000 members who voted backed an end to their dispute with university employers over the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the UK’s largest private pension fund.

UCU said that the restoration of pensions, in addition to a one-off payment of around £900million to reflect the money members have lost since April 2022, will mean an extra £16-£18billion will go into pension pots.

The union said these changes will mean that the typical USS member will be around £150-£200k better off due to paying less into their pension and receiving more throughout their retirement.

The restoration is the first time a UK union has achieved a reversal of a pension cut of this magnitude, said UCU.

UCU general secretary Dr Jo Grady said the victory was “historic” and hoped it would inspire workers from other sectors who have faced similar disputes.

READ MORE: UCU begin strike action at University of the Highlands and Islands

She continued: “This is a momentous day, not just for our members, but for workers everywhere.

“For years, our members were told that what they were demanding on pensions was impossible. Vice-chancellors told us to stop striking, pension ‘experts’ said our campaign was a lost cause, but we have proven them wrong.”

The pensions dispute saw industrial action take place at higher education institutions across Scotland, with a wave of strike action taking place at many universities at the beginning of the term.

A separate dispute, known as the Four Fights dispute, remains ongoing, with members seeking to improve pay, workload, equality and casualisation within the higher education sector.

UCU members have also been participating in a marking and assessment boycott (MAB), a form of action short of a strike (ASOS), as part of the Four Fights dispute.

The MAB came to an end on September 30.

UCU confirmed that whilst the pensions dispute is over, members are currently balloting over further disputes regarding pay and conditions.

READ MORE: Hundreds of Scottish Water workers vote to strike over pay dispute

This means that industrial action as a whole has not come to an end, only that which relates specifically to the pensions dispute.

Grady continued: “We won’t stop here – the same dedication that fuelled this pension fight is felt just as intensely when it comes to pay, workloads, and job security.

“We will not stop until we create a higher education sector that properly values all its staff.”