News | Published November 26 2019

Almost half of UK universities on strike over pensions and working conditions

Staff from almost half of the UK’s universities are on strike between November 25 and December 4 over pensions and pay and conditions.

The strike will see staff limit their work strictly to their contracts, including not rescheduling lectures lost during the strikes and not covering for absent colleagues.

Staff have reached "breaking point" according to the University and College Union, with a number of issues taken into consideration over the decision to strike.

These include a gender pay gap of 15 per cent, and changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme, which the union claim will see staff pay more but receive less under their retirement.

Members of staff now pay 9.6 per cent into their pensions, compared with the previous 8 per cent.

This will see lecturers £240,000 worse off, and professors losing out on £730,000.

Dr. Jo Grady, the general secretary for the UCU, notes that the 43,600 members of the union will strike for "systemic change".

She continues that the sector has "made a lot of money over the past 10 years" however, there had been "an attack on working conditions in the sector", and spending on staff had decreased during this period.

According to the University and Colleges Employers Association and Universities UK, employers have increased their pension contributions to 21.1 per cent of salary, from the original 18 per cent.

They claim that the union’s demands would see employers “divert unsustainable amounts of money from other budgets with potential consequences including for jobs, student support, course closures and larger class sizes".

Staff from 43 universities are currently involved in the industrial action.

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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
November 26 2019

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