UCU

Revolt in the degree factory

On Monday 12 March Universities UK and the University and Colleges Union (UCU) announced they had reached an ″agreement″ at ACAS in the ongoing dispute over the USS pension scheme. As details of the ″deal″ came to light UCU members across the country were at first confused as to why the UCU would have agreed such a deal, and then angry. Ten days of strikes had forced employers first into negotiations, then into making an offer. But the offer was a bad one. Pension contributions would go up to 8.7% from 8%; the accrual rate would go down to 1/85 salary a year from 1/75, and pensions would only...

Student and workers say #NoCapitulation - Support the strikes!

Student occupiers, anti cuts activists and UCU members from across the UK spoke to Workers' Liberty Bristol students occupation An occupation of Bristol University Senior Management’s offices has forced the university to concede to most of their demands. A Bristol Uni occupier writes... The strikes are over proposed changes to the USS pension scheme, in which many staff would lose up to 40% of their pension. So far there have been eight strike days at sixty-four universities, escalating over three weeks with another nineteen possible days planned. It is the first nationally co-ordinated strike...

UCU strikes force offer from UUK, but it's not good enough

University and College Union branches are furiously opposing a proposed ACAS settlement of the USS pensions strike. After ten days of strike action employers finally offered a deal of sorts. But the deal is a bad one. Pension contributions will go up to 8.7% from 8%; the accrual rate will go down to 1/85 salary a year from 1/75, and pensions will only be guaranteed on salaries up to £42k (about the third point on the main lecturer scale) instead of the current £55k (roughly the top of the senior lecturer scale). Worse, the deal is a ‘transitional’ one for three years, with a dangerous prospect...

University strikes still strong in fourth week

Strike action continues at sixty-four universities next week, with the first full week of action over the scrapping of guaranteed pensions. The strength of the strikes has already forced the employers to ACAS, where talks will continue on Monday. UCU has rightly refused to call off strike action while the talks continue, and has authorised a further fourteen days of action to hit exams and assessment after Easter if the dispute is not settled. Thousands of staff have joined UCU over the course of the dispute with every sign that feelings on the picket lines are hardening. Targeted campaigns...

UCU strike part of a wider fight

By Dan Davison, NCAFC Postgrads and Education Workers Co-Rep On Monday 19 February, Theresa May launched the latest funding review for higher education. Acknowledging that the UK now has “one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world”, May put forward that the review would “examine how we can give people from disadvantaged backgrounds an equal chance to succeed”. This followed Education Secretary Damian Hinds’ suggestions that students might be charged variable tuition fees according to their specific degree’s economic value. Indeed, the themes of “meritocracy” and...

University pension revolt gains strength

See more coverage of student protests here. As Solidarity goes to press, staff at 64 universities are on the fourth day of strikes over pensions which began on Thursday 22 February. Seven more universities are due to join in coming weeks. There has been a strength of feeling on the picket lines unprecedented in recent university disputes. A thousand people joined a protest at Bristol, and at many other campuses numbers have been in the hundreds. The University and College Union (UCU) has already processed 3,000 new membership applications, with an estimated 2,000 more in the queue. At Reading...

Industrial news in brief

On 22-23 February, campuses across the country will see the first of 14 days of strikes announced by the University and College Union (UCU). These strikes follow the industrial action ballots results of 22 January, which saw an 88% vote for strike action, based on a turnout of 59% of eligible UCU members. These strikes will hit 61 universities, perhaps even more, with UCU members at seven institutions that failed to meet the 50% turnout requirement now being re-balloted. The strikes are over proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the main pension scheme for “pre-92”...

Industrial news in brief

Lecturers strike over pensions Staff at 61 universities have voted to strike in a dispute over pensions, beginning on 22 February. University bosses want to remove guaranteed pension provision, in favour of a “defined contribution” scheme where the eventual pay-out is dependent on performance of investments. Staff face losing up to £200,000 over the course of retirement. The ballot achieved a 58% turnout nationwide with an impressive 88% vote for action. The universities involved are primarily the older “pre-92” universities, and the affected workers are academic and academic-related staff...

Industrial news in brief

After twelve weeks of strikes, Unite members have agreed a deal to settle a long-running dispute over changes to waste management services in Birmingham. On balance, this has to be considered a victory for the workers. The Labour council have agreed to withdraw proposed redundancies in exchange for giving the affected workers new job titles and duties. Grade 3 workers will now be promoting recycling among residents but still be working on bin lorries and maintaining their current grade, pay and conditions. In addition a victimised shop steward will be reinstated, unions will be included in a...

Vote yes in UCU pensions ballot

Higher education union UCU is balloting for strike action over university bosses’ plans to scrap guaranteed pension benefits from the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). At the moment, higher grade staff in the older “pre-92” universities get a pension based on their average earnings across their career. This is already on worse terms than staff in newer universities and school teachers. But now the employers want to scrap even this deal in favour of making our pensions entirely dependent on the performance of pension scheme investments. A consultative ballot saw over 86% voting that...

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