UCU Members move to reject ‘capitulation’
UCU members taking part in the ongoing industrial action against cuts to pensions are likely to reject the compromise reached by the UCU and UUK (Universities UK) last night. The deal has been described as kicking ‘a serious solution to the pension dispute into the long grass’ in an open letter signed by over 5000 UCU members. It amounts to a three year cooling off period, with only a modest increase in employers’ contribution.
The worry amongst UCU members is that in three years they will be demobilised. The scale of the strike action is going to be difficult to replicate - it has already resulted in more strike days than took place in the whole of 2015. They deal has also been criticised for effectively terminating industrial action immediately before exam season - when the union would be able to exert the most pressure. The call for rescheduling of missed classes has also been described as ‘completely unacceptable’, as it essentially invalidates the strike action that has taken place.
A YouGov poll carried out last month showed that 61% of students supported the strike - with two thirds of students supporting it in universities where action was taking place.
At time of publication the deal has already been rejected in local branches at Ulster, Cambridge, Sussex, SOAS, Goldsmiths, Bath, Manchester, Reading, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Warwick, Strathclyde, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Keele, Liverpool, Hull, York, LSHTM, Exeter, Stirling, UEA, QMUL, Bristol, Cardiff, and Durham.
The Robin View:
The UCU strike is one of the most effective mobilisations the union has ever carried out. They should keep up the pressure and reject this unacceptable deal. That their pensions are in danger is sufficient reason to do so - that the marketisation of universities hangs in the balance makes it an imperative.