UCU union members will meet for their annual congress in Harrogate this weekend. Members in higher education are demanding the union acts to defend their USS pension scheme.
UCU members at over 60 universities held 14 days of strikes last year to defend the scheme. Now the USS board that runs it has proposed that workers pay higher contributions.
The union’s position is to support “no detriment”—which means workers should not pay more or get less in retirement.
Carlo Morelli is a member of the union’s national executive committee and a USS negotiator.
He told Socialist Worker that USS and the bosses’ UUK “all agree that the scheme should be worse for members. But they can’t reach an agreement yet on how to do that.”
He said, “They failed to get rid of our defined benefit scheme and now they’re coming back for a second time. They’re trying to wreck the scheme by increasing the costs and so forcing members out of it.
“The UCU needs to start mobilising members again now for a ballot on industrial action.”
Winchester gears up for strikes
UCU union members at Winchester university are preparing for five days of strikes to save jobs.
Workers were set to begin a two-day strike on Tuesday of next week. A three-day walkout is set to begin on Monday 3 June.
UCU members voted by 80 percent for strikes in a recent ballot.
A work to rule was set to begin on Thursday of next week.
Bosses have threatened to scrap 55 posts. They have blamed increased pension costs.
The union is demanding bosses rule out compulsory redundancies.