UCL academics may go on strike next month in protest of proposed changes to their pensions fund
On Tuesday the 23rd of January, the Universities Superannuation Scheme voted to proceed with changes to lecturers’ pensions that many fear will cost them each on average £200 000 over a lifetime. As a result, the University and College Union (UCU) has said strike action now looks highly likely and they have announced 14 days of strike that are expected to start on the 22nd of February. Some UCL students have been notified by their departments to prepare for this eventuality.
UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt said in a statement to members today:
Yesterday we met with Universities UK (UUK) at the Joint Negotiating Committee.
I want you to know that we made multiple attempts to engage with them to find a solution but they would not move an inch from the proposal to end the guaranteed pension.
The result is that this appalling proposal, which will cost staff many thousands of pounds in lost retirement income, has taken one step closer to imposition.”
If we do not stand and fight now we will lose the right to a decent retirement income forever.
The work that you do in our universities is what makes them – still – wonderful places to be for students. It is on the back of your endeavour that vice-chancellors boast about their global reputation and reap big rewards. You deserve decent treatment and yet at the moment your concerns are being treated with contempt.
We must, and will, fight back.
Classes and teaching stand to be disrupted if strikes go ahead. This includes office hours and tutorials. Staff in one UCL department have already sought to reassure students that they will do everything possible to mitigate the effects on students’ studies whilst ensuring staff are able to choose to take up their legally protected right to strike if they so wish. Universities likely to be affected include Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College London, amongst many others.
The Universities Superannuation Scheme is said to currently be suffering from a £17.5 billion deficit. Experts have said university tuition fees may need to be increased and diverted to help plug this shortfall.
(Featured image credit: Wikimedia)