Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 21 February 2018

Bosses divided - university pension strikes can win!

UCU strikers march in defence of pensions in 2011, photo Hugh Caffrey

UCU strikers march in defence of pensions in 2011, photo Hugh Caffrey   (Click to enlarge)

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

Just three days before UCU members in 61 universities begin a sustained programme of strike action, Essex vice-chancellor Anthony Forster became the eighth to speak out against devastating cuts to our pensions.

Writing in the Times Higher Education on Monday, he said: "University employers must... commit to increasing employer contributions" in order to safeguard pensions.

Plans to scrap defined benefit pensions will not only leave university staff thousands of pounds a year worse off in retirement but could also make the scheme unsustainable. Many others have called for more talks.

What's more it's becoming increasingly clear that Oxford and Cambridge are the key institutions that are pushing forward these proposals, and that other universities are less keen on attempting such a huge attack on our members.

They are right to be worried. The University and College Union (UCU) nationally has recruited over 2,000 new members. My own branch has grown by over 12% since 1 December, and even heads of department are threatening to strike.

That shows how much anger the proposed pension cuts have caused, but also how enthusiastically university staff have reacted to UCU showing leadership and determination to fight to defend our pensions.

We've been boosted by student support. Strikes will disrupt student education, and they are rightly angry about that given the sky high fees they pay. But up and down the country students are clear that they blame the employers and the effects of marketisation on higher education - not hard working teachers, lecturers and administrators that make our universities function.

At Sheffield Socialist Students was instrumental in setting up a staff student solidarity group which has put pressure on management to speak out against the cuts. Where groups like this do not exist we must work to create them during the dispute.

It's been heartening to see a Labour MP, Lucy Powell, cancel a lecture at the University of Manchester rather than cross a picket line. But we need to see more support from Labour and particularly the leadership. A few years ago former Labour MP Tristram Hunt crossed a UCU picket line to deliver a lecture on Marx and Engels! We need to see that under Jeremy Corbyn Labour is different.

Corbyn's pledge to scrap tuition fees won huge support in the general election - he should go further and tie supporting our strike to reversing marketisation and privatisation and promising to fully publicly fund the sector, including grants for students and decent pay and pensions for university workers.

In UCU we're ready for the fight of our lives. Our employers are publicly divided and this dispute is winnable. We ask for the full support of the labour movement as we prepare to take the first ever national strike action since the new anti-union laws were introduced.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 21 February 2018:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Chatsworth ward victory shows we can save our NHS

Tories raid 1bn from NHS facilities budget - unions must act

Blairite mayor faces open election after democratic 'irregularities' - fight for a no-cuts mayor

Facebook sides with state repression - reinstate the Tamil Solidarity page

Like rats from a sinking Ukip

Workplace news and analysis

Usdaw victory - Socialist Party member Amy Murphy wins presidential election

Bosses divided - university pension strikes can win!

After 80 strike days Mears workers achieve victory

Newham academies strike continues with three schools to strike together

What we think

Northern Ireland talks process paralysed

Socialist Students

How can students and young people fight the Tories?

Leicester Uni makes Tory fee tripler David Willetts chancellor - sack Willetts!

International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: Ramaphosa is a safe pair of hands for capitalism

Russia: Ali Feruz, journalist and human rights activist, freed from jail

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Building the campaign against clearances of the working class

Northants council crisis - protesters demand an end to cuts and privatisation

Victory: Pontllanfraith leisure centre saved

Save Salford nurseries!

Labour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget

May Day, May Day! Celebrate solidarity!

Bradford protests against kids' service cuts

Successful Socialist Party Wales conference sets tone for the year ahead

Tremendous determination on show at West Midlands conference

Lively discussion at East Midlands Socialist Party conference

Nottingham hospital black alert

Cardiff Refugee Rights gig success

Outrageous sentence for TUSC agent in 'misleading electors' court case


German engineering strike puts shorter week on agenda - but could have won more

The Socialist inbox


Home   |   The Socialist 21 February 2018   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleStrike continues: set dates for next national action

triangleDetermined UCU strikers: We're out to win!

triangleCardiff Socialist Party: Support the UCU university strike!

triangleUCU strike: bosses on the run

triangleNational lecturers' pension strike continues


triangleSeeing-off the bigoted, billionaire toff!

triangleUniversity bosses rocked - strikes can save staff pensions!

triangleLecturers strike around country in defence of pensions

triangleLeicester Uni makes Tory fee tripler David Willetts chancellor - sack Willetts!


triangleUni strike: coordinate public sector fightback

triangleRoyal Mail forced back under threat of action

triangleUniversity workers' walkout for decent pensions


triangleSpain: millions on streets against sexism and capitalist oppression

triangleWoolwich ferry workers win automation campaign

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Refugee Rights campaigners on the 17.3.18 anti-racism demo - pics


Socialist Party

Socialist Party congress 2018



Strike continues: set dates for next national action


Socialist Party

Members dig deep into their pockets to support the party


North West

Campaigners continue to demand Chorley A&E is fully reopened



Swansea Labour council votes for cuts



Derby public meeting: Women's Lives Matter



Seeing-off the bigoted, billionaire toff!



Continuing the fighting tradition of working class women



Workplace news in brief



Leicester: Blairites block Labour Party democracy



Leaked pay deal: fight for a genuine pay rise



We feel that we will win - a striker speaks



Woolwich ferry workers win automation campaign



UCU strike: bosses on the run

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018