Tag Archives: UCU

Bradford Uni joins the USS pensions dispute

UCU pickets at Bradford Uni - photo Iain Dalton

UCU pickets at Bradford Uni – photo Iain Dalton

UCU members at Bradford were one of four universities which joined the dispute over the USS pensions scheme in on Tuesday 6th March.

Iain Dalton, Socialist Party West Yorkshire Organiser

Staff here had to re-ballot after narrowly missing out on reaching the 50% turnout threshold imposed by the Tories latest anti-union laws.

UCU members told us that picketing numbers were up on previous strikes. Many staff were incensed that management is intending to impose 100% wage deductions for staff who won’t reschedule lectures.

One picket told us “They’re trying to deny our right to strike. While management say our strike is penalising students, this deduction is effectively locking us out on non-strike days.”

Some students joined the picket lines, chanting “What do we want… pensions, when do we want them… when we retire” This reflects a fear amongst young people that if existing pensions schemes aren’t defended now, then what will exist in the future?

Socialist Party members got a warm reception from pickets, grateful to welcome support on a cold windy day. We will continue to build support for strike over the next few weeks.


Lecturers Strike at Bradford Uni for Fair Pay

Socialist Party joins UCU members on the picket line at Bradford Uni - photo Iain Dalton

Socialist Party joins UCU members on the picket line at Bradford Uni – photo Iain Dalton

UCU members have been out at the University of Bradford on Wednesday & Thursday as part of the national dispute over pay and casualisation. Despite the weather, a dozen pickets were present on the second day when Socialist Party members locally visited the picket line.

Iain Dalton, Socialist Party West Yorkshire Organiser

Many of the pickets talked about ongoing job reviews at the University which they believed were designed to cut staff pay, by making job descriptions more vague. Other pickets talked about how with the union they had challenged this procedure, in some cases forcing the university to recognise additional duties they were undertkaing and increase pay!

Tish, one of the UCU reps at the University, spoke to us about her concerns over education in general, including her local school which has been turned into an academy. The common theme in all the Tories plans for education, is increasing marketisation of the sector.

UCU pickets at Bradford University – photo Iain Dalton

Why Students Should Support the UCU Marking Boycott

As students are most likely aware, the University and College Union (UCU) have planned a marking boycott that will commence on the 6th November. This will take place at all pre-92 universities, which includes Bradford University.

Bradford University Socialist Students fully support this boycott. Although the boycott may affect our education it is as a result of attacks by the university employers association on the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the pension scheme of our lecturers and academic support staff.

UCU members don’t choose to take any form of industrial action lightly, whether striking or other forms of action such as marking boycotts. Failure to stop these attacks would see staff lose thousands of pounds in retirement, which are in effect deferred wages. The employers argue the USS is in deficit, although their figures exclude all future contributions into the scheme. In reality the scheme is surplus (to the tune of £42bn) and therefore such attacks are unnecessary.

Since the economic crisis and bank bailouts the gap between rich and poor has been growing ever wider. Although lecturers are perhaps not the worst paid in society, even these jobs are being replaced by short-term and zero hour contracts just like other sectors of society. Wages have also stagnated pushing the cost of living up for everyone. If these attacks are not resisted it would only increase USS members struggle in retirement and encourage further attacks on pension rights of all workers.

We support the right to strike and the right for unions to pressure their employers into providing decent jobs, working conditions and pensions, even if it does cause an inconvenience to our life or our education that we pay for.

After all, we pay for our education so we want the best lecturers, high morale amongst staff is essential for us to have the best learning experience. That’s why Socialist Students calls on you to support the boycott, and any upcoming strikes, and show solidarity with our lecturers and other university staff!

Jason Smith – Bradford Uni Socialist Students