College and university lecturers welcome support from school teachers for pensions strike
UCU today welcomed news that members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) have voted to join UCU members in taking strike action to defend pensions later this month (Thursday 30 June).
UCU members in further education colleges and the 'post-92' universities, mainly former polytechnics, were balloted for action earlier this year and on Thursday 24 March lecturers at nearly 500 colleges and universities across the UK took strike action.
The row is over planned changes to the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS), which UCU says will see greater contributions from pension scheme members for reduced benefits. The union has warned that there could be a significant opt-out by new starters, which would not only damage their chances of a decent retirement, but also the long-term sustainability of the pension scheme.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The average lecturer faces an increase of around £90 a month in exchange for reduced benefits. UCU remains committed to a negotiated solution, but that requires employers and government to actively engage with, and listen to, staff concerns.
'Educators do not like taking strike action. Our chosen vocation is to change lives and transform life chances and we are unlikely militants. However, while ordinary people suffer huge cuts in their standards of living, the richest 1,000 people in Britain saw their collective wealth rise by 18% last year.'