Universities to take strike action

Universities to take strike action

This magnitude of strike action has not been seen before on United Kingdom campuses, and seven more universities, which failed to meet the government's new 50% turnout requirement for strike action to be allowed, will be balloted again.

The dispute centres on the employers' representative Universities UK's proposals to end the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme, which UCU says would leave a typical lecturer nearly £10,000 worse off a year in retirement.

Around 800 University staff members will strike for 14 days in February in protest against changes to university staff pensions.

Kent is one of 61 institutions across the United Kingdom, including Oxford and Cambridge, to be affected by the walkouts.

Due to their reading week dates, staff at four institutions - the University of Stirling, University of Edinburgh, Queen Mary University of London and King's College London - will not take part in the first two days of strike action and will instead walk out on 19 and 20 March.

Members of the University and College Union confirmed the wave of strikes today after talks between the organisation and the university's representative Universities UK broke down. They feel let down by vice-chancellors who seem to care more about defending their own pay and perks than the rights of their staff.


Sally Hunt, UCU's general secretary, said the strikes could be avoided if UUK drops its plans.

"That decision is a necessary step, made in the best interests of university staff, to put USS on a sustainable footing for the long-term", a UUK spokesman said in a statement.

The union said the dispute centres on Universities UK's proposal to end the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme pension scheme.

"There will be inevitable consequences for students although we will do everything we can to mitigate the effects and ensure there is as little disruption to their studies as possible", he said. In a recent strike ballot, 88% of members were in favour of striking, with 93% backing action short of a strike.

The University of Kent has been contacted for a response.

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