All out for USS

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HE action - why

Why we're taking action

UCU members are taking action in two separate disputes.

  1. UCU members are taking strike action over falling pay, the gender and ethnic pay gap, precarious employment practices, and unsafe workloads. University employers consistently fail to address these issues.

    ALL TALK, NO ACTION

    Since 2009, pay has been effectively cut by nearly 20% in real terms, while staff are being asked to work harder and longer than ever before. The employers' own analysis highlights that women and black and minority ethnic staff experience significant pay discrimination. Casual contracts remain entrenched. Yet the university employers are refusing to commit themselves to meaningful action on any of these appalling conditions.

  2. UCU members are taking strike action over changes to our pension, the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). University employers are ignoring pension experts and want us to pay more based on a flawed way of assessing the scheme.

    EMPLOYERS ARE IGNORING THE EXPERTS

    Last year, employers shelved their plans to radically redesign USS after UCU took strike action. Both sides agreed to take advice from an independent panel of pension experts. The employers' method of calculating pensions says USS is in trouble and that staff need to pay more each month. The expert panel reached a different conclusion, based on a different method of calculating costs. UCU wants the university employers to listen to the experts and discard their own flawed approach - after every post 2011 change to the scheme, a typical USS member will be around £240,000 worse off.

TAKING ACTION IS ALWAYS THE LAST RESORT

UCU members want to be at work, not taking action, but the future of higher education is under threat. Growing inequality affects both students and staff - poor working conditions mean poor learning conditions.

The USS dispute threatens the long term ability of universities to recruit and retain high quality staff. Students and staff alike will be short changed if the worst pensions in education continue to drive away staff who can gain financial security elsewhere.

UCU members continue to ask our employers and university leaders to work with us, end the disputes, and avoid widespread disruption for students, staff, their families, and the community.

THE ACTION CAN BE RESOLVED

The National Union of Students (NUS), MPs, and others are calling on the employers to reconsider their hard-line stance on pay and equality. We have given employers plenty of opportunities to get back around the table but they will not commit to meaningful negotiations.

They are also all calling on the employers to reconsider their stance on USS, but they continue to ignore the experts and push ahead with their own ideas. There is still time to negotiate.

UCU members are determined to continue our action until long-term and lasting solutions can be found.

PLEASE SUPPORT OUR STRIKE

We ask you to stand with us and defend higher education.

Last updated: 3 December 2019