University staff set to strike over pensions
Union members at many of London’s top universities have voted in favour of strike action over changes to UK higher education’s biggest pension scheme. The first day of strikes is on Thursday 22 February with further industrial action planned through until Tuesday 20 March.
The industrial action is going ahead after talks over proposed changes to pensions stalled. These changes could leave teaching staff up to £10,000 a year worse off once they retire.
Of the 58 per cent of members who voted, 93 per cent backed action, which is set to include refusing to cover classes or reschedule classes lost to strike days, as well as refusing to undertake any voluntary duties.
As a result to the threat of strike action, there were talks between UCU and Universities UK. However, talks on the 23 January, the last day of talks, broke up without an agreement between unions and employers.
61 universities throughout the UK have voted for industrial action. Amongst them, twelve universities in London will be affected, including UCL, Imperial, Goldsmiths, City and Queen Mary.
The National Union of Students (NUS) has issued a statement of support stating: “As representatives of students, NUS is worried that the imposition of these cuts in the face of sector wide opposition will lead to a demotivated and unhappy workforce and consequent recruitment and retention problems as staff vote with their feet and move elsewhere.”
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