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March, 2018:

University strikes remain on as UCU rejects proposals

13 March 2018

University strikes remain on as UCU rejects proposals

UCU has rejected a proposal drawn up at talks between the union and Universities UK (UUK) to end the university pensions strike. UCU representatives from the universities where staff are on strike over plans to cut their pensions met at the union’s headquarters today (Tuesday).

The union is calling for urgent negotiations with the universities’ representatives Universities UK aimed at resolving the dispute. The union said the strikes and action short of a strike remain on, and it would now make detailed preparations for strikes over the assessment and exam period.

Last week the union said that universities would be hit with a second wave of 14 strike days targeted at exams and assessment if the dispute was not resolved.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘Branches made it clear today that they wanted to reject the proposal. UCU’s greatest strength is that we are run by and for our members and it is right that members always have the final say.

‘The strike action for this week remains on and we will now make detailed preparations for strikes over the assessment and exam period. We want urgent talks with the universities’ representatives to try and find a way to get this dispute resolved.’

Make Monday MASSIVE!

UUK and UCU are meeting with ACAS tomorrow. UUK would never have agreed to this if we had not gone on strike but we must now send a loud and message to our own university leadership and UUK’s negotiators that industrial action is not going to fizzle out just because they have – extremely reluctantly – come back to the table.

Therefore, let us Make Monday MASSIVE! Everybody out. Everybody picket.

We have written again to the President & Vice-Chancellor – see here – pointing out that, contrary to her claims in the video released on Wednesday, UCU has tabled proposals that are both affordable in the short-term and sustainable in the long-term.

Even the Provost & President of University College London, Prof. Michael Arthur, whose Director of Finance is UUK’s lead negotiator on the USS Joint Negotiating Committee, came out saying he ‎is willing to increase contributions in order to maintain defined benefit pensions, adding that he’s been talking with staff on picket lines and saying “we are one community”. How different from the University of Manchester!

Therefore, our focus tomorrow will be on how the University of Manchester and other hard-line employers are looking increasingly isolated – see this new leaflet.

If you can, please also stay after picketing  and participate in the Teach-In in the Student Union building. The programme is shaping up and will likely include sessions on the University’s finances and governance, precarious employment and low pay, marketisation of HE, and “Hashtag Rothbot”.

See you tomorrow and let’s Make Monday MASSIVE!