Yesterday it was decided by CUSU Council that they would support the University and College Union (UCU) in strike action against proposed changes to pension schemes for academics.
88% of UCU members already voted in favour of industrial action following the measures proposed by Universities UK, which suggests pension income should be subject to stock market fluctuations, and proposes to do away with a minimum level of pension income. Modelling has shown this is likely to cause a typical lecturer to lose £200,000 in retirement.
Daniel Davison-Vecchione, a PhD student, presented the motion to CUSU Council, asking them to vote ‘in the name of staff-student solidarity’ and reminding them that we ‘owe it to the teachers, administrators, and workers that keep our university running’. Though acknowledging the negative impact this could have on student learning, and stating he was “not going to pretend [he had] an immediate concrete solution for how it can be made up in term”, Davison-Vecchione argued any detriment would be “more than made up for in our interest to preserve the good functioning and purpose of the education sector in the long term”.
CUSU President Daisy Eyre also acknowledged the significance of any strike action, recalling a conversation with Martha Krish, CUSU Education Officer, in which they had acknowledged “student-staff solidarity is a very important thing”.
The motion was carried by a significant majority after 29 voted in favour, only one against and three abstained.
Universities UK hopes to avoid the strike, stating that, ‘if industrial action takes place it could cause disruption to students at some universities’.
Strike action will begin on 22nd February followed by three, four and five-day protests.