Photo: Flickr, Plashing Vole

BREAKING: University staff vote to back strike action over pensions

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) have voted overwhelmingly to back strike action in a national ballot over proposed changes to lecturers and tutors’ pensions.

Members of the UCU’s higher education committee are currently meeting with Universities UK (UUK) to discuss the result and decide what form action may take if the issues over the reforms to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) are not resolved.

If they do not come to a conclusion, multiple strikes will go ahead as planned. The first strike will take place on 22 February, starting with a two-day walkout that could be increased to up to fourteen days in total.

Members could also refuse to cover classes that would be affected by these strikes.

At the University of Warwick, 816 individuals were entitled to vote, but only 463 completed the ballot paper, resulting in a 56.7% turnout.

In the ballot paper, all members of the UCU were asked, “Are you prepared to take industrial action consisting of strike action?” and “Are you prepared to take industrial action consisting of action short
of strike action?”

91.3% of UCU members at the University of Warwick voted “yes” for the first question and 95.4% voted “yes” for the second question.

The vote had a national turnout of 58% with 88% of members who voted backing strike action and 93% supporting all action short of a strike.

Sixty-one universities and colleges, including Warwick, could be affected.

In December, Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft reassured staff that “whatever happens, we will not let the current increasingly conservative approach to USS go unchallenged.” He added that the new investment strategy would “materially inhibit the future growth of assets out of which pensions will ultimately be funded.”

Stuart Croft, also wrote to Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executives of UUK,last week challenging the group’s decision to abandon its current pension model.

Other universities that have voted to back strike action include Bristol, Cambridge, and Lancaster.

This story will be updated as it develops.


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