There is now huge anger across the public sector that the government wants us to pay with our pensions for an economic crisis we did not create and a deficit reduction plan that is not necessary.
They want us to:
Pay more: higher pension contributions at a time of frozen wages and a rising cost of living.
Work longer: the government wants the pensionable age to be tied to state pension age.
Get less: the value of pensions is being cut by 15% by the switch from RPI to CPI, while the government is promoting a move to an inferior 'career average' pension scheme.
Similar reforms have been imposed as part of a bitter dispute in the private USS pension scheme in 'old' universities.
THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT NEGOTIATING PROPERLY
UCU like the other unions is committed to a negotiated solution if at all possible.
Yet despite the spin, the government's approach appears more like an elaborate charade than genuine discussion.
The government has set deadlines and drawn red lines that are making it practically impossible to reach agreement.
That's why we have to prepare to take strike action. The only way public sector workers will see any movement in the government's position is by a massive display of united action on 30 November.
BEYOND THE SPIN
Our pensions are affordable: the National Audit Office report in December 2010 found that public sector pensions are sustainable and affordable. Teaching unions already agreed a series of reforms to make TPS sustainable in 2006.
The great 'gold plating' lie: the aver- age pension for an FE lecturer is £9,000 while the average pension for an HE lecturer is £11,400 - peanuts compared to MPs and company directors' pensions.
No divide and rule: the real problem is not public sector pensions but the lack of private sector provision. We need fair pensions for all.
JOIN THE ACTION ON 30 NOVEMBER 2011
Join the strike and rallies on 30.11.11
Make sure your colleagues know about the strike
Attend your local UCU branch meetings to find out how you can help
I am writing to ask you to take strike action on 30 November, 2011 in support of your union.
We are now, at last, engaged in detailed discussions on the future of the Teachers Pension Scheme (TPS) and now have talks on the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). But in neither case has sufficient progress been made to enable us to call off the proposed strike action.
As I have written previously, UCU's preference is to achieve a negotiated solution and we have invested substantial time in trying to achieve this in recent weeks.
Over USS, I and colleagues met the employers last week. While key issues for future discussion were identified and arrangements for future meetings agreed, until such time as real progress is made the current dispute, including our work to contract, must remain on.
Over TPS, I have also been involved in detailed discussions with the government alongside other education unions following the improved general offer recently made by the government. What happens here will also affect the Northern Ireland and Scottish schemes.
Our priority in both schemes is to do everything we can to defend both members' existing benefits and also those of future pension fund members. That this is a challenge in the current climate will be obvious to anyone who watches the news, but like all those unions involved in talks, we are working hard to defend members' interests.
Please therefore stand up for your pension rights by supporting your union on 30 November. Our negotiating position will be strengthened immeasurably in the days after the day of action if we can show that the strike was well supported.
If you can, please show your support on local picket lines. You will find also a list of local events that have been planned by UCU and our sister trade unions here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/30nov2011#events
While our priority must be the interests of TPS and USS members, unions across the public sector will be taking action to defend pension rights in their own areas so please attend to show your support for others in the same position as ourselves.
I know that strike action is never an easy option for people who work in further and higher education, and nor should it be. Yet it is the failure of employers and government to negotiate properly over the past year which has brought us to this position.
That means that on 30 November, every UCU member in every institution will be asked to take action. It is because we know that taking action is a big dealt that you have my promise that I and my colleagues will do all we can in the days and weeks after 30 November to resolve the dispute and protect your pensions.
Thank you for your support.
Sally Hunt UCU general secretary
Events on 30 November
Rallies, marches and other protests are being organised and coordinated by the regional TUCs and Trades Councils all over the country. Below you can find all the organised events we know of. Events in green are organised by UCU branches.
Edinburgh Heriot Watt University UCU are meeting at the East End of Castle Street car park (at the bridge over King's Stables Road) at 11.30
St Andrews 1000 - gather at Church Square for march 1015 - 1045 - speakers (tbc) 1100 - 1130 march from Church Square to North St opposite Younger Hall. 1145 - 1230 (to coincide with arrival/departure of students and parents for the graduation ceremony) so opportunity to hand out leaflets
Belfast Belfast City Hall 1pm Rally at the Mandela Hall in the Queens University Student's Union at 11.00am followed by a feeder march to the City Hospital. Assemble at all points from 11:45 for feeder parades from:
Royal Victoria Hospital (Grosvenor Road)
Belfast City Hospital (Lisburn Road)
Mater Hospital (Crumlin Road)
Central Train Station (East Bridge Street)
UU Art College
Derry Peace Bridge 1pm
Newry City Hall 1pm
Yorkshire and Humberside
Bradford Major rally in Bradford city centre 11am Bradford, Centenary Square
Leeds A march is being organised from Woodhouse Moor and a rally will be held at Woodhouse Moor at 10.30 then a march from there to the regional TUC rally outside Leeds Art Gallery
Sheffield Major Rally in Sheffield City Centre. Will leave Sheffield City hall at around 1pm, when the rally finishes and march through Sheffield City Centre Barker's Pool, City Hall
Hull Major rally in Hull City Centre Victoria Square
Other locations include: Grimsby, Doncaster, Barnsley, York
North and North east of England
Northern TUC Organising against austerity conference Northern a 'better way' international public services campaign forum Northern A reclaim the night event 'Austerity in Education' seminar - 25 November
Carlisle Leafleting organised for 12, 19 and 26 November in Carlisle March and Rally organised for the 30 - meeting at Carlisle Cross, Carlisle, 12.00pm Carlisle Cross, Carlisle
Lancaster Assemble at Dalton Square at 11:00 am March commences 11:30 am Rally at Market Square 12:30 pm National Show of Solidarity 1.00 pm
Newcastle March and Rally organised for the 30 Assembly 10.30am Gateshead, Rally 12.30, Spillers Wharf, Newcastle.
Cumbria Rally in Whitehaven in Cumbria Assembling at 12pm at Castle Park
Blackburn Blackburn College: meet outside the victoria building at 11 for a joint union rally in the town centre March and Rally organised for the 30th - assembling at King William Street, outside old Town Hall, Blackburn 11.30am-11.45am 11.30am-11.45am Assemble King William Street, outside Town Hall. 11.45am March around Blackburn town Centre. 12.30pm Rally outside Town Hall Blackburn & District Trades Council
Blackpool March and Rally organised for the 30th - assembling opposite St John's Church in the town centre. March to set off down Church Street. Rally in the Ruskin Hotel Albert Road 12.00 Assemble opposite St John's Church in town centre. 12.15pm March to set off travelling down Church Street to the promenade to Talbot Road, then follow Talbot Road and down Abingdon Street back to St John's for 1.00pm, 'Make Noise at One'. 1.15pm Ral
Bolton Strike Rally with messages of support from local MPs and joint trade unions at Bolton Town Hall Square. March from Victoria Road. Post Strike Rally with guest speakers, including discussion "Where next for the pensions dispute" at Derby Ward Labour Club 11.00am-12.30pm - Strike Rally at Bolton Town Hall. 12.30pm March from Victoria Road, around Bolton and onto Derby Ward Labour Club, Deane Road, Bolton. 1.00pm Post Strike Rally at Derby Ward Labour Club
Chester March to set off North West along Castle Drive. Rally at Guildhall 12.00 - Congregate at University, Riverside Campus on Castle Drive. 12.25pm March to set off North West along Castle Drive to meet Grosvenor Road (subject to confirmation). 12.35pm Turn right onto Grosvenor Road and march North East to carry on along Gros
Liverpool March from Pier Head. Rally at St George's Plateau Assemble at Derby Square and the Pier Head. March from Pier Head, James Street, Derby Square, Lord Street, North John Street, Victoria Street, Roe Street, Lime Street. Rally at St George's Plateau
Oldham March around town centre, 'Make Noise at One'. Short rally 12.00 Assemble on Albion Street (close to Iceland shop). 12.30pm March around town centre, route TBC is Albion Street, Curzon Street, High Street, Lord Street, Curzon Street. This needs confirmation prior to print
Preston March begins and proceeds to Flag Market, where the Rally starts 11.00am Assemble at Avenham Park. 11.30am March begins and proceeds to Flag Market. 12.00 Arrive at Flag Market for Rally. 1.00pm Rally ends and 'Make Noise at One'
Wigan March to Wigan Town Centre. Rally in Market Place 12.00 March to Wigan Town Centre, from Whelley Labour Club. 1.00pm Town Centre Rally in Market Place, Wigan
Warrington March & Rally Assemble at GMB Office on Town Hill, Warrington. March begins and proceeds to Warrington Town Hall (Sankey Street entrance) Rally at Warrington Town Hall. Rally ends and 'Make Noise at One'
Birmingham and Nottingham events are the 'lead' events for the West and East Midlands
Birmingham Teach Out at the University of Birmingham 10:30, East Gates. Organised by UCU, talks & entertainment UCU branches will be meeting Alpha Tower 11am, Bham march is going ahead & sets off from Lionel St carpark (opposite Kerrang) 11.30
Stoke North Staffs Trades Union Councils'Pensions Justice' Day of Action Assembly 12:30pm, Stoke Civic Centre, Kingsway, Stoke on Trent. ST4 1JH Keele UCU website
Local rallies also in: Derby, Leicester, Northampton, Chesterfield, Lincoln, Telford/Donnington, Coventry, Wolves, Worcester
Hertford Come and meet us at Hartham Common, Hartham Lane, Hertford, at 11.30am Join our march to County Hall - the march leaves Hartham Common at 12:30pm The march arrives outside County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford at around 1:30pm Rally and speakers to address the demo outside: County Hall 1:30pm - 2pm Contact Brian Ruggles firstname.lastname@example.org
High Wycombe Bucks New University, Police Station and Post Office march to the Hub at 12.30
Horsham Rally at Horsham Park
Ipswich Assemble 11.30 am Russell Road, Ipswich. March 12 midday through Ipswich Town Centre RALLY - Ipswich Cornhill at 12.45 pm SPEAKERS: Megan Dobney (SERTUC Gen. Sec.), Kerry Fairless (PCS Regional Chair), Graham White (Sec. Suffolk NUT) and other Union speakers. Richard Howlitt MEP and David Elsmere (Ipswich Borough Council) by invitation.
Kings Lynn A march and rally starting at 12pm outside the tax office in County Court Road to the top of Purfleet for a rally
Kingston upon Thames Assemble outside Kingston University, Penrhyn Road 10am for march to rally 11am at Richard Mayo Centre, Eden Street
Leatherhead 10am outside Red House Grounds Park off Station Road march to rally 11am at Leatherhead Theatre
London The SERTUC march and London regional rally will assemble in Lincoln's Inn Fields from 12 noon, move off at 1pm to the Rally at 2pm on Victoria Embankment (the road will be closed) contact Laurie Heselden email@example.com 020 7467 1292 Flyers available from SERTUC office Monday 21 November Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
London LSE and King's College London UCU branches are jointly organising a teachout on the steps of LSE's New Academic Building, opposite the fields (on the corner with Sardinia Street), from 1100 until the main march moves off.
London Unison Greater London has initial plans for events as follows - times may change so please contact for up to date information email@example.com
Inner London Hospitals 12 to 2pm: St Thomas'; St Mary's; UCLH; The London; St George's; Queen Elizabeth Greenwich; Westminster; Blood Transfusion Oxford Street
Outer London Hospitals 12 to 2pm: Croydon; Kingston; Harrow; Barnet; Hendon; NELFT/Queen's Hospital in Romford; Barking & Dagenham; Lewisham
London Brent Joint education unions in Brent have organised a rally at The Torch pub on November 30th from 9.30 am. All staff on strike are welcome, along with any supporters who live in the area. We have an excellent line up of speakers (all short speeches!), free food, and the bar will be open. There is a prize for the funniest placard. After a mini march outside we will make our way to central London to join the main march.
London Greenwich & Bexley trades council aiming for a local rally on the morning of 30 November Ccontact Lynne Chamberlain firstname.lastname@example.org
London Cities of London & Westminster 11-13 November & 18-20 November long weekend leafleting actions Contact Roger Sutton email@example.com
London Rally outside Kensington Town Hall 10.30.Tony Benn speaking. Bring ukuleles.
London 19 November stall in Brixton 11am, 28 November rally in Town Hall, Brixton Contact Anton Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
Luton Assemble Manor Park, Manor Road 11.30 am. March to leave park noon for Rally in Market Hill at 12.30pm
Maidstone March at 12pm from town centre to rally outside County Hall
Medway 12.30pm rally at Command House, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham
Milton Keynes 12pm event Civic Centre
Newport, Isle of Wight Marchs from college and hospital to rally in town centre
Norwich City A march starting at 11.30 outside City College going to City hall for a rally Contact Kevin O'Grady email@example.com
Peterborough A March and open air public meeting assemble 10.30am at Pleasure Fair Meadow Car Park to rally in Laxton Square
Portsmouth 12pm march from Guildhall Square through town back to Guildhall Square for rally
Reading Reading trades council is organising a rally Contact Greg Wilton firstname.lastname@example.org March and rally assemble at 11.30 at the Irish Centre on Chatham Street, march though town finishing at Kinds Meadow
Sittingbourne Phoenix Centre rally
Southampton Southampton & SW Hants trades council is organising a march 12.30pm from Hogland Parl to Guidhall Square Contact Bobby Noyes email@example.com
Southend Southend trades council is organising a march and rally in the town centre at 11am Contact Rachel Heemskerk firstname.lastname@example.org Rally at 11am in the Plaza Area outside the Odeon Cinema, High Street and there may be a short march from the Coviv Centre Victoria Avenue at 10.45
Waveney Assembling in Station Square for a march and a rally at 1pm at Lowestoft United Reform Church A benefit gig Bands Against the Banks at Lowestoft Town Football Club from 7.30pm
Winchester 12pm at Orams Arbour
Wisbech Wisbech, March & Kings Lynn trades councils public meeting Saturday 21 January 2012 12 noon The attack on workers and their trade union rights Contact Terry Stevens email@example.com
Bath Rally and March - 1pm in Victoria Park for March at 2pm to Abbey Square for Rally at 3pm
Bournemouth 12 noon Central Gardens, just across the road from the Town Hall.
Bristol March & Rally, contact firstname.lastname@example.org 11 assemble for 11.30 march from College Green to Castle Park for 12.30 Rally Candle lit vigil. Soup kitchen
Dorchester and Weymouth Trades Council has started to make plans although the Corn Exchange will be 'out of bounds'. Ideas include activities in Weymouth.
Dorchester March & Rally 10 am DCC offices - some speakers 10.30 (Dorset County Council,County Hall,Colliton Park,Dorchester,DT1 1XJ) March through town 11 rally at War Memorial with Rally in South Street.
Exeter Rally/March, Soup kitchen. Possible evening event Assemble 11am Cathedral Green, Rally at 12.30pm Flybe Stand, St James Park
Gloucester March/Rally contact John Pemberton Glos TUC and NUT email@example.com March to Gloucester Park Somerset Details TBC.
Gloucestershire Candle-light vigil - hospitals - from midnight Shire Hall
Plymouth Rally plus day of events. Evening event at Vooodoo Club, Tony Staunton Plymouth TUC. 1 p.m. Children crèche and activities for older children. 11am Gather outside Guildhall, march through City Centre 12 midday, rally at Holiday Inn, Armada Way Plymouth TUC
Poole Lunchtime demonstration has been proposed in Poole Park
Salisbury Salisbury District Hospital - both entrances (7am til 3pm) and Fountains Way Hospital on busy Wilton Road
Swindon A march from 10 Canal Wharf (assemble 10am to 10:30am along Commercial Road, and then ending at an indoor rally in the MECA theatres from 11am till 12:30. Andy Newman GMB and Bob Cretchley, Unison Canal Wharf
Taunton March/Rally, 12 for 12.30 start Rally 1.30pm Market House contact Dave Chapple, Somerset Association of TCs. Taunton Deane Council Offices
Torbay 10am outside Town Hall 11am March to Princess Theatre TBC Torbay Town Hall
Trowbridge 11.30 Gather outside Wiltshire Council Unison office: basic free cafe - hot drinks,snacks contact Carole Valley GMB and White Horse Trades Union Council Sue Anderson, Unison Wiltshire Council Office