Strikes on at Scottish universities from Thursday

20 February 2018 | last updated: 23 February 2018

Members of the UCU at universities in Scotland will begin walkouts on Thursday as a wave of strikes hit in a row over pensions.

The strikes will affect over 145,000 students at the universities.  Striking staff will be on picket lines at eight institutions on Thursday at the entrances to their universities and there will be rallies that day in Glasgow and Dundee.
 
The universities are among 61 institutions across the UK that will be hit with 14 days of strikes over the next four weeks if the dispute is not resolved. The full strike dates are:

Week one - Thursday 22 and Friday 23 February (two days)
Week two - Monday 26, Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 February (three days)
Week three - Monday 5, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March (four days)
Week four - Monday 12, Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15 and Friday 16 March (five days)

Due to academic timetabling two universities, Edinburgh and Stirling, will not take action in week one and will instead walkout on Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 March.  They will participate in all the other strike dates.
 
The dispute centres on proposals to end the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme. UCU says this would leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement than under the current set-up.
 
The Universities' representatives - Universities UK - are seeking to push through the changes and have refused to negotiate with UCU. The union says this has left it with no alternative but to strike. UCU Scotland is asking students to get their principals to put pressure on UUK to return to the negotiating table.
 
In the recent strike ballot UCU members overwhelmingly backed industrial action.  In the strike ballot 87% of UCU members backed strike action with the turnout in Scotland 63%
 
UCU Scotland official, Mary Senior, said: 'Nobody wants to take strike action, but staff across Scotland feel they have no choice. These hardline proposals would slash staff pensions and are simply uncalled for.
 
'It is staggering that the universities have refused to engage with the union and a real insult to staff and to students. We hope students will continue to put pressure on the principals to get their reps back round the negotiating table.'
 
* Universities affected by strike action
University of Aberdeen
University of Dundee
University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow
Heriot-Watt University
Open University in Scotland
University of St Andrews
University of Stirling
University of Strathclyde
Scottish Association for Marine Science at University of the Highlands and Islands

 

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