18 February 2018
Staff at the University of Nottingham (UoN) are joining a national strike after talks broke down between the University and College Union (UCU) and the representatives of the universities.
According to the union, this was due to new changes in the USS pension scheme which will see lecturers almost £10,000/year worse off after retirement. The strike will involve 61 institutions and would be one of the largest strikes on UK campuses. The changes being proposed are to address a £17.5billion deficit in the USS.
This action comes after tuition fee increases, a change in Vice Chancellor, and a protest in November to turn the University of Nottingham into a living wage employer.
A member of staff of UoN said: "The prospect of striking is not one I take lightly. However, the failure of the universities to engage in meaningful negotiations about our pensions feels to be part of an ever-advancing trend to turn education into a factory system."
"Our employers seem primarily interested in squeezing as much money as possible from students whilst minimizing the cost of providing the education they 'consume'. In practice, this means attempting to mechanize our jobs and reduce our benefits."
"This trend harms us all and students should direct their legitimate anger at losing out towards the university upper management who are ultimately responsible for this disruption."
Liam McClelland, Co-Chair of Nottingham Green Party and a Philosophy and Theology 2nd year student, said: "The University seems to be very happy to flaunt around academic excellence and spending reports on auditoriums but are trying to pull off an alleged Sir Philip Green and to get out of their pension scheme commitments for their staff."
"This is just the latest act of public vandalism by the moneyed interest who see workers of all kinds as nothing more than components in a money making machine and if they can afford to pay them nothing for all their hard work, they will."
The Green Party believes in the right of unionized workers to strike for their collective interests and would work to bring democracy into our workplace so strikes would become unlikely as staff would be a fundamental part of the decision making process. The Green Party will fight for a properly funded higher education system that is free and open to all.
You can show your support by telling your lecturer you support their strike, writing to the new Vice Chancellor of UoN Professor Shearer West, who has the power to advise the representatives of the universities to not cut the pensions and find another way to deal with the deficit, or by visiting https://www.ucu.org.uk/student-uss-information