Four universities join pension strikes as minister calls again for talks without preconditions

26 February 2018

Staff at four more universities have walked out as strikes over cuts to pensions enter their second week

UCU members at King's College London and Queen Mary University of London, as well as Edinburgh and Stirling universities, are all starting their action from today. Staff at 61 institutions will be striking on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, with further strikes planned in March if the dispute is not resolved.

On Friday, Universities UK (UUK) said it would return to talks tomorrow (Tuesday) - a move welcomed by UCU which said it had been calling for talks for weeks. However, it explicitly ruled out discussion of the current proposal to move to a fully defined contribution pension scheme.

The union said it was disappointed that UUK had ignored the wishes of universities minister Sam Gyimah, who told staff and students in Manchester on Friday that the only way to resolve the dispute was with both sides engaging in talks without conditions.

UCU members at 14 colleges will be on strike on Wednesday and Thursday this week (28 February & 1 March) in an ongoing row over pay. On Wednesday staff at Sunderland College are also walking out. Thirteen of the colleges affected by the action are in London and striking college staff will join UCU members striking over cuts to USS pensions at a march and rally in central London.

The march will leave Malet Street at 1pm, before heading to the rally starting at 2pm in Westminster Central Hall with "education for all" speakers including:

·         Shadow chancellor John McDonnell

·         Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner

·         National Union of Students president Shakira Martin

·         UCU general secretary Sally Hunt

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: 'As strikes enter their second week and disruption spreads to four more universities, we are calling on Universities UK to listen to the minister and come to tomorrow's talks willing to work with us to resolve this dispute.

'Universities UK owe it to staff and students to engage constructively with us and to discuss the issues at the heart of this dispute.'

 

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