Socialist Worker

UCU - ‘why we're right to go on strike’

by Josh Hollands, UCU rep and postgraduate teaching assistant, University College London
Issue No. 2592

A previous UCU strike

A previous UCU strike (Pic: Jenny Sutton)


This week we’ll be taking part in the biggest strike in Britain since the junior doctors’ strike. And we plan escalating strikes over the next three weeks, ending with a five-day strike in March.

We’re out because our pensions are under attack. At the moment we’ve got a defined benefit scheme.

That means you know what you’ll pay in and you know what you’ll get out.

But our bosses want to change that to a defined contribution one. That means we know what we’ll pay in, but we’ll have no idea what we’ll get out.

We’ll be relying on how well the scheme does on the markets. Would you trust the

markets with your pension or like to wake up checking the markets to see how much you’ve lost?

Casual

People might think that university workers are all rich professors. But it’s not like that. There are more and more staff on casual contracts and on low pay.

And this isn’t only about our pension scheme. There’s a bigger attack going on.

Our bosses, and the Tory government, want universities to be run like businesses.

That means making money comes before everything else.

We are fighting for a different vision of education.

Education should be there for ordinary people, not to serve the interests of big business.

That’s why we’ve got support from students, from other trade unionists and from campaigners. We’ve had loads of people join the union because we’re fighting back—and we know that we can win.

This week some teachers are striking against academies. And 16 further education colleges start strikes next week.

You should back us too—and join our demonstration alongside striking further education lecturers on 28 February in London.


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