Socialist Party
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28 February 2018

University bosses rocked - strikes can save staff pensions!

Sam Morecroft, Sheffield UCU anti-casualisation Officer (personal capacity)

"University chiefs split as strikes cause chaos!" read the front page of the Times on 23 February. They weren't wrong - after just two days of our planned 14-day strike programme!

Universities UK didn't expect this reaction. They thought they could get away with scrapping defined benefit pensions and stripping us of a decent guaranteed income in retirement.

But now they've provoked the most disruptive strike action seen in British universities in many years. It shows that university workers have had enough of marketisation and privatisation.

What's more, students angry at sky-high fees and savage education cuts are completely on the side of staff. And since they're now 'paying customers' they're demanding refunds of their fees!

Student support has been fantastic and at our campus in Sheffield around 500 staff and students gathered at our rally, with a carnival atmosphere. We've also held teach-out sessions and discussions of the strike with students.

We also have the support of the leadership of the Labour Party - unthinkable just a few years ago. Some Labour MP's have refused to cross picket lines, John McDonnell spoke at the Goldsmiths strike rally and Jeremy Corbyn posted a YouTube video sending solidarity and thanks to striking UCU members.

We have to ensure that the fantastic strength and energy of the first week's picket lines continues.

The bosses are divided, but we are strong - this attack on our security in retirement has provoked a massive response.

We need to keep the pickets solid, continue to build solidarity, and increase the pressure on UUK.