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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 January 2018

Lecturers vote yes to national strikes against pension cuts

Save our pensions, photo Paul Mattsson

Save our pensions, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Sam Morecroft, Sheffield UCU anti-casualisation officer

88% of University and College Union (UCU) members in 68 universities have voted for national strikes on a 58% turnout.

Universities UK is proposing to scrap the 'defined benefit' element of our pensions. This will reduce the value of staff pensions by 50% or more, and leave an average lecturer 200,000 worse off in retirement.

This is the highest turnout for a national ballot in the history of UCU, showing the anger at the scale of the attack. Many branches worked hard to build this, giving us a strong mandate for action.

At the time of writing there are further negotiations scheduled, beginning on 23 January.

But if there is no change in the employer's plans, UCU has announced a sustained, escalating programme of 14 days of strike action. This will begin with a two-day stoppage on or around 22 February, alongside action short of strike like working to contract.

61 of the universities balloted secured turnouts above 50%. The seven other institutions which voted for action but didn't secure the threshold required by the latest anti-union law will now be quickly re-balloted in light of the national result.

On all affected campuses, and on those not affected, meetings of workers and students must be held to begin to build solidarity for the strikes. This attack on our pensions is part of the marketisation and privatisation strategy of the Tory government. Unite to defend pensions and education!

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Related links:

UCU:

triangleCongress shut down by staff walkouts

triangleUCU conference: Build the union, build the struggles!

triangleServices disappearing from Harrogate

triangleHarrogate College strike against cuts

triangleUse TUC march as launch pad for action on pay

Lecturers:

triangleMay 1968: Police attacks on students spark mass revolt

triangleGoldsmiths students occupy and protest in support of UCU strikers

triangleStrike continues: set dates for next national action

triangleUCU strike: bosses on the run

Cuts:

triangleWomen's Lives Matter launched in Leeds to fight domestic violence service cuts

trianglePressure building on councillors to stop fire service cuts

triangleService users and families protest learning disability service cuts

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triangleMiners demand end to pensions robbery

triangleStrike action forces bosses to retreat but keep the pressure on

Strikes:

triangleBig victory for Wigan NHS strike against privatisation

Pensions:

triangleMinister's benefits lie: sack the Tories - and scrap universal credit

Universities:

triangleFrance '68: History's greatest general strike erupts

University:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Privatisation:

triangleNHS at 70: a fight for our lives!

Education:

trianglePrison: life inside a living hell

College:

triangleHarrogate NSSN: Fight austerity in Harrogate

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