Staff at two universities starts strike in row over pensions


The UCU claim that there has been a 20% real-terms pay cut over the past 12 years, unmanageable workloads, pay inequality and the use of insecure contracts are ‘rife’ across the sector

Staff at two city universities are set to start a 10 day walk out today in a nation-wide row over pensions and working conditions.

Lecturers and some support staff at Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities say that leaders have ‘failed staff and students’ after they claimed the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) which manages staff pensions across the whole of the UK failed to withdraw cuts to pensions.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) will picket outside the universities and are expecting big turnouts. They will be on strike for five days this week.

They will also down tools on February 21 and February 22 over pay and working conditions and again on February 28 and March 1 and 2.

The UCU claim that there has been a 20% real-terms pay cut over the past 12 years, unmanageable workloads, pay inequality and the use of insecure contracts the union say are ‘rife’ across the sector.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: The action that begins today and will eventually hit 68 universities across the UK is down to principals who have failed staff and students.

They have pushed through brutal pension cuts and done nothing to address falling pay, pay inequality, the rampant use of insecure contracts and unmanageable workloads, she said.

It is outrageous that when they should be trying to resolve this dispute, employer representatives have instead been finding new ways to deduct pay from university workers, she said.

She said: Rather than punishing their workforce, these so-called leaders need to look in the mirror and ask why students support staff taking strike action and why their own workforce is so demoralised.

A spokesperson for Glasgow University said: The University regrets that UCU is proceeding with industrial action.

We are still assessing the extent of the strike but it appears the large majority of staff will continue to work normally. We will do everything we can to minimise disruption to students during any action, the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for the University of Strathclyde said: The University is making arrangements to minimise any disruption to our students during the course of national industrial action. We fully expect the majority of our classes to run as normal.

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