The University and College Union (UCU) has announced that university staff will strike for 14 days over a four-week period due to potential changes to their pensions.
The announcement of industrial action comes after staff at 61 universities across the UK voted overwhelmingly in favour of protesting over new pension proposals that would cut a typical lecturer’s pension by as much as £200,000.
The protests will start with a two-day walkout starting on Thursday 22nd February. The following dates are:
Week two (February)- Monday 26, Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28
Week three (March)- Monday 5, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8
Week four (March)- Monday 12, Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15 and Friday 16
A University of Nottingham spokesperson said: “The USS [Universities Superannuation Scheme] is a national pension scheme, and staff across the university sector will be consulted in March on proposals to address the current £7.5 billion deficit. If the industrial action occurs, this would be deeply disappointing, and we will make every effort to ensure students’ education is not unduly disrupted.”
“The USS is a national pension scheme, and staff across the university sector will be consulted in March on proposals to address the current £7.5 billion deficit.”
The USS pension scheme, the higher education sector’s main retirement fund, is currently £7.5 billion in deficit, having increased from £5.3 billion in 2014. The USS has demanded that university employers and staff increase their contributions to the fund in order to fill the gap in the budget.
Universities UK, a representative of university employers, has proposed an alternative scheme where pension income would be subject to movements in the stock market. UCU fears the risky new plan would cost a typical lecturer up to £10,000 a year.
The University of Nottingham Students’ Union (UoNSU) announced yesterday that there will be a vote on whether to take a position of support, opposition or abstention on the industrial action.
The vote will be taken by the Education Reps, Faculty Reps and Full- and Part-Time Officers of the Students’ Union, with the quorum set at 50%+1. Their decision will be released on Wednesday 7th February 2018.
Featured image courtesy of ‘Shamraze/Nugaize’ via Flickr. License here.
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