University staff strike over pensions and pay

Members of the University and Colleges Union (UCU) are taking action in two separate disputes, one on pensions and one on pay and conditions. The strikes will affect almost half of all UK universities. The BBC reports.

The universities say strikes are not the way forward and promise to do all they can to minimise the impact of industrial action on students.

In addition to striking, union members will begin other forms of industrial action when they return to work, including working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost during the strikes.

UCU says staff have reached “breaking point” over a number of issues, including workloads, real-terms cuts in pay, a 15% gender pay gap and changes to pensions for staff in the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), which the union says will leave members paying in more and receiving less in retirement.

The employers say even increasing their contributions to 22.7% of salary would cost them £373m a year.

They have warned that in order to meet the union’s current demands, employers “would have to divert unsustainable amounts of money from other budgets with potential consequences including for jobs, student support, course closures and larger class sizes”.

Read more from both sides and students views University staff strike over pensions and pay 

Read the full list of striking universities. Are you striking today?  Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

 

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