Why might our lecturers be taking strike action?
February 9, 2011 2 Comments
Jobs: UCU estimates that cuts in government spending could lead to 40 000 redundancies in the university sector. Leading vice-chancellors have already publicly urged MPs to back huge rises in tuition fees, a measure they believe is ‘reasonable’. Now they are refusing even to discuss a national agreement on improving job security and defending provision. But the employers do not just want to make it easier to implement redundancies, they want to make it cheaper too.
Pensions: They want to introduce a new scheme which will calculate pensions by averaging out our salaries over a whole career, rather than the current final year salary scheme. Staff joining the new scheme and retiring at the top of the lecturers’ scale would lose £100 000 compared to current arrangements. The employers have indicated to UCU that once the new scheme is introduced, they are likely to seek to move everyone onto the inferior pension scheme. The immediate effect of these and other changes will be to reduce the cost of severance packages for staff being made redundant.
Pay: Despite awarding themselves pay rises of up to 20% last year, vice-chancellors want to drive down staff costs. Their current pay offer to university staff is 0.4%. Over time, with inflation running at over 5%, this will represent a significant pay cut. This is not just a pay cut – it will downgrade the role of education workers in society as part of a wider attack on our students’ education.
What can you do?
- Knowing that students support the strike makes a lot of difference to workers when they decide how to vote.
- Sign the petition to support the strike.
- Join the “We support our lecturers” page on facebook, and set up a group for your university. Upload pictures of yourself and your friends holding up a sign saying “I support my lecturers”.
- Raise the strike for discussion in your seminars and lectures and hold a vote on whether to support the strike.
- NUS supports industrial action by UCU members: get your local students’ union to do the same.
- Get involved in your local anti-cuts/EAN group and help build effective campaigns in defence of our education.
Education System Shutdown
Students in the Education Activist Network, National Assembly for Education and National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts have also called for students to walk out either alongside UCU members on the first day of their strike or on Budget Day 23rd March.
With students refusing to cross picket lines and taking radical action at universities and colleges across the country we can shut down our education system for the day—and show the coalition government that students and education workers are united against the Con Dems’ vandalism.