Socialist Worker

Students give support to lecturers’ walkout

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2590

Striking for pensions in Cardiff, 2011

Striking for pensions in Cardiff, 2011 (Pic: Cardiff Guardian/Flickr)


The National Union of Students (NUS) has sent its “full solidarity” to university lecturers preparing for strikes.

The strikes by UCU union members will hit 61 universities later this month. Workers are fighting to defend their USS pension scheme.

NUS president Shakira Martin and UCU general secretary Sally Hunt released a joint statement on the dispute.

It said the cuts to the USS pension scheme would demotivate staff and could cause recruitment and retention problems.

The NUS has asked its members to participate in “solidarity action during the strikes in support of UCU members”.

The first strike is a 48-hour walkout set to begin on Thursday 22 February.

Four universities involved in the dispute have reading weeks during this time, so the first walkout will involve 57 universities.

A three-day strike will follow from Monday 26 February, involving 61 institutions.

Voting

The UCU is re-balloting seven branches that, although voting overwhelmingly for strikes, didn’t meet the 50 percent turnout threshold.

The ballot ends on 16 February, and if workers meet the threshold they can join the strikes in the thrid week.

This will see a four-day strike beginning on Monday 5 March, followed by a five-day strike starting on Monday 12 March.

A strike ballot of workers in 19 further education (FE) colleges is set to end on Monday of next week.

UCU union members are in dispute over pay after rejecting a below-inflation offer of 1 percent.

Workers voted by 75 percent for strikes over pay in a consultation.

The attacks on pay come as FE colleges also face cuts to jobs and courses.

Figures uncovered by Labour last week showed that there are 20,000 fewer staff in FE now compared to 2010.


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