University staff strike over pensions

University staff strike over pensions

One of the UCU's regional support officers, Martyn Moss, said to the Manchester Evening News: "It is staggering that the universities have refused to engage with the union, and a real insult to staff and to students". Vice-chancellors from Warwick, Essex, Goldsmiths University of London and others said that the lines of communication should be re-opened with the lecturers union so students wouldn't suffer.

Universities UK (UUK) maintains that the pension scheme has a deficit of more than £6 billion that can not be ignored, and that it has met union officials more than 35 times to discuss reforms, The Press Association reports.

The strikes are an attempt by the UCU to pressure universities to negotiate pension reforms proposed by Universities UK (UUK).

In solidarity with the University and Colleges Union (UCU) Strike, CUSU organised a student rally outside of Senate House at noon today.

Around a million students are expected to be affected by the strikes that started on Thursday.

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The issue stems from the announcement made by the UUK that it planned to overhaul its Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

Responding to criticism that Oxford and Cambridge colluded in efforts to push through the changes which would leave academics up to £10,000 a year worse off, Toope added: 'I want to assure you categorically that there has been no collusion between Cambridge and Oxford to undermine the scheme'.

"Downgrading the pension scheme will affect recruitment, retention and, ultimately, our ability to offer world-class higher education", he said.

Universities minister Sam Gyimah and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have both called for talks to resume. The teachers taking action is affecting us students rather than the governing body.

New polling commissioned by the UCU has found that the majority (61%) support strike action by university staff, with almost a fifth (19%) opposed.

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An online YouGov poll, conducted on the eve of the strikes, shows that just two per cent of students think university staff are most to blame for the dispute, with half pointing the finger at the university employers.

A recent ballot saw more than four-fifths of UCU members back strike action in a 63% turnout in Scotland.

The union said there were "a number of misleading claims" about the planned changes to the pension scheme, which had been "affected by hard economic conditions". For many, this is a vital time in their studies.

"We believe that fairly rewarded staff are the cornerstone of the university experience and that the proposal by Universities UK to substantially cut the pensions of members of the USS pension scheme will be hugely damaging if implemented", an NUS spokesperson said.

McCrystall said that he hoped the opposing groups would find a way to negotiation and that a solution would be found.

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"Where any strike action takes place, we expect universities to keep a close eye on the impact on students, and to put in place measures to maintain the quality of education that they should receive". "That strike makes sense as it inconveniences the people that are paying them".

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