Socialist Worker

Lecturers prepare national fight for education

by Sadie Robinson, at UCU conference
Issue No. 2205

The UCU union’s annual congress sent a clear message to the government last week—we are preparing a national fight against your cuts.

Lecturers voted to call on the TUC and other unions “to ballot for a 24-hour public sector strike against post-election cuts”.

Defending jobs was a major theme of the conference. But delegates also discussed resistance to other attacks, including on pay and pensions.

Terry McNight from the union’s executive revealed the result of a consultative ballot of lecturers in higher education over employers’ plans to “reform” pensions.

Their changes would see new lecturers lose an average of £127,000 from their pension.

A massive 96 percent of those voting rejected the plans and over 60 percent turned out to vote—a very high turnout compared with previous consultative ballots.

Terry described it as “an unprecedented response”.

“If necessary we will prepare for industrial action,” he told delegates.

Malcolm Povey, also from the executive, added, “The City of London wants to get its hands on our deferred wages.

“It’s highway robbery.”

Higher education delegates voted without opposition to call on the union to “give all possible support to the campaign... up to and including an all-out national strike of all UCU members”.

Delegates made it clear that they aren’t buying the Tory spin that “we are all in it together” and that everyone has to make sacrifices.

HE delegates unanimously passed a motion called “Cut management excess not staff jobs”. It noted that vice chancellors’ salaries went up by an average of 9 percent last year—and the growth of senior management on big salaries in universities.

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Tue 8 Jun 2010, 18:43 BST
Issue No. 2205
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