Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are to be balloted on the latest Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) offer, the trade union has announced.
Academics across the country will next week be asked to vote on the updated proposal, made earlier this week, to maintain defined benefit (DB) provision with current contribution and benefit levels, while also convening an independent expert panel to consider the calculations behind the valuation.
The union's higher education committee voted for a ballot to be put to members after UCU branch representatives met with leadership to discuss the revised offer, which is promised to apply until at least April 2019 if accepted.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "These latest proposals were won by the solid action of UCU members and now is the time for them to have their say on what happens next."
Universities UK (UUK), which represents the sponsoring employers of USS, had hoped that the revised offer would bring an end to the strikes which have hit 61 universities over the past month.
A spokesperson for UUK said: "The panel will help to build confidence in the valuation process and assumptions. It will also give time to pause, to reflect and to rebuild the trust that has been damaged over the past few months."
They continued: "Together with UCU, we will seek support for the panel from the USS trustee and The Pensions Regulator, recognising their statutory duties."
UUK had hoped the regulator would extend the USS' triennial valuation deadline, currently set at 30 September, to allow the panel to report back and feed into the final valuation.
Yet, simultaneous to its ballot confirmation, the union announced a fresh wave of strike action, with staff at 13 universities to protest for several days in mid-April. It added further action may be on the cards for all 65 universities represented by UUK if the dispute remained unresolved following the ballot.
UCU members rejected an earlier provisional transitional agreement - which would have seen contributions rise for both employers and employees, as well as the accrual rate cut - arguing UUK's position was "disappointing".
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