Socialist Party
| Print

31 January 2018

University workers' walkout for decent pensions

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

University and College Union (UCU) members in 61 universities will be taking up to 14 days of strike action in February and March if plans to completely scrap the defined benefit element of our pensions aren't dropped.

We have a strong mandate for industrial action, with 88% of members voting in the ballot saying yes to strike action, on a turnout of 58%.

That's the largest turnout UCU has ever recorded in a national ballot, and it's a testament to the hard work of branch activists at local level, to secure what we needed to meet the thresholds introduced by the draconian Trade Union Act.

The turnout also represents the anger and disbelief at the scale of the attack on our pensions. Scrapping defined benefit will mean the average lecturer will be around 200,000 worse off in retirement. Most university workers will lose 50% or more of their pension.

Despite the clear rejection of the proposals that our ballot represents, the employers' association Universities UK (UUK) has refused to budge from its hardline position, or even to consider alternative solutions. The pensions regulator has said that our pension fund is in deficit, and UUK says this means there is no other option.

But analysis commissioned by UCU shows the pension fund is in surplus and the employers refuse point blank to consider increasing their contributions!

Because of the need to meet the turnout threshold, we disaggregated our ballot by branch. This was perhaps a mistake as we easily met the turnout nationally but at seven universities we just missed out despite big votes for action - for example at the University of Swansea the branch missed the 50% threshold by just two votes. Those branches are being reballoted however, so that they can join the strikes.

This attack is so huge that we have no other choice but to take sustained action to push back the employers and we are building for this action right now.

The employers are already split on this issue, but so far their representatives UUK have not backed down. If there is no change in their position, we will take 14 days of escalating strike action, with the first two day strike likely to begin on 22 February. This will be the fight of our lives, and we ask for the full support of students and the labour movement.

UCU members in further education are also balloting at some colleges after just a 1% pay offer from employers.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26812




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

LATEST POSTS

triangle25 May Action demanded from new council

triangle23 May Tories prepare for possible snap election

triangle23 May Capitalism's Grenfell shame - Tories must go

triangle23 May Stop Trump! Build for 13 July student walkouts

triangle21 May Antisemitism, Israel-Palestine, & the left

triangle17 May Threat to unity of PCS left

triangle16 May Thousands on TUC demo

More ...

WHAT'S ON

triangle31 May Bristol South Socialist Party: How can workers' jobs be protected?

triangle31 May East London Socialist Party: Cuba after the Castros

triangle7 Jun North London Socialist party: Ireland: the fight for abortion rights

triangle7 Jun East London Socialist Party: 'Made in Dagenham' Ford women workers' pay strike 50 years on

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

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: 0784 114 4890

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

ABOUT US

What we Stand For

About the Socialist Party

Our 2015 election manifesto

Joining the Socialist Party - what will it mean for you

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999