Strike action looks necessary says GS (24 Jan 2018)

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Members updated on hard-line employer stance

24 January 2018

UCU’s general secretary Sally Hunt has updated members on the implications of the employers’ stance during the latest negotiating meeting and their refusal a find a solution which would not end guaranteed USS pensions.

The outcome of the meeting is that strike action by members is looking increasingly necessary.

She writes:

‘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.

USS will now begin a consultation with fund members with a final decision made by the board at the end of June 2018. There are further negotiating meetings which will take place between now and June at which UCU will continue to fight the proposal to end the guaranteed pension.

In my view, the hard-line position taken so far by UUK on behalf of your university is a betrayal of higher education staff.

So having tried to achieve a negotiated solution, now we must take industrial action.

I say that knowing that action for you will always be a last resort.

But if we do not stand and fight now we will lose the right to a decent retirement income forever.

Arising from the magnificent ballot result the Higher Education Committee has called for fourteen days of strike action, starting with two days a week and escalating upwards, along with action short of a strike which will include a refusal to reschedule classes lost due to the dispute.

The strike action is expected to begin on Thursday 22nd February except in institutions who have reading weeks who may start the week after.

We will be writing to your employer to tell them that without an acceptable national outcome the responsibility to make good your pension loss will fall to them and that action will continue until they finally meet that responsibility.

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.

Thank you for your support.’

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