Socialist Worker

Work to rule begins in over 60 universities

Issue No. 2273

Protesting over pensions at the University of Leeds on Monday of this week

Protesting over pensions at the University of Leeds on Monday of this week

University lecturers began a work to contract on Monday of this week in protest at attacks on their pensions.

The action involves lecturers in 67 universities who are in the USS pension scheme. Employers have imposed changes to the scheme that will mean workers have to pay in more, work longer and get less when they retire.

The action will see lecturers refusing to work more than their contracted hours and withdraw goodwill.

There is confusion in some union branches about what kinds of action they have been instructed to take by the national union. Nonetheless, lots of branches have wasted no time in organising activity.

Many kicked off the work to rule with protests. So, lecturers and students marched and rallied at the University of Leeds on Monday morning (see above).

UCU members at Bristol University protested on Monday evening after setting off several alarm clocks at 5pm to signal the end of the working day.

Meanwhile Unite and Unison union members and students joined lecturers for a rally at Manchester University.

Lecturers at Lancaster University plan to protest every Wednesday until further notice. Southampton University lecturers have set up a “Let’s meet for lunch” campaign for workers to reclaim their lunch hour.

Many more report that they are holding organising meetings to involve more people in the action.

The UCU is considering other action, such as boycotting marking exams. Its higher education committee last week voted unanimously to join public sector pension strikes on 30 November if employers don’t back down.

Malcolm Povey, immediate past president of the University of Leeds UCU branch, told Socialist Worker, “These actions can build confidence for the mass strike on 30 November.

“Along with the action, branches should pass motions of support for the strike. And it’s important that we make links with students too.”

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Tue 11 Oct 2011, 18:47 BST
Issue No. 2273
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