Universities risk prompting a wave of industrial action across UK campuses later this year if they do not rule out benefit cuts or contribution increases for members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).
UCU has written to 69 institutions warning that if they fail to confirm by Wednesday 19 June that they will limit members’ contributions to 8%, or meet the cost of any additional contributions, then the union will prepare for an industrial action ballot in September.
We all said at the end of our successful strike action in 2018 that if they came for our pensions again, and if they ignored the expert recommendations of the Joint Expert Committee (JEP), we would be prepared to strike again. It’s looking increasingly like this will be necessary.
We will keep you updated on important developments over the summer.
UCU will challenge a large (30%) increase in staff car parking fees on behalf of its members who face ever increasing pressures on their finances following 10 years of real terms pay cuts. In recent years UCU has worked with the University on a number of successful initiatives which make it cheaper, easier and more convenient for staff members to commute sustainably. Unfortunately, in the case of this increase, UCU has not been consulted or involved. The University has now agreed to meet with us about this. We will demand the establishment of a review group in partnership with the campus trade Unions and the University to consider the introduction of a more fair and environmentally-friendly car parking scheme that will look at fees, how fee money is used by the University, how car parking spaces are allocated to staff, and how this fits within a broad commitment to green and active travel policies.
Following the University’s recent Climate Emergency debate, a letter to the Vice Chancellor has been drafted by a group of Cardiff academics requesting that the University declares a Climate Emergency. They are calling for all members of staff of Cardiff University, including doctoral students, to sign this letter, to demonstrate the support for such a measure. Please do also share this widely among colleagues within the University.
The UK and Welsh Parliaments declared a climate emergency this year, as have two of the GW4 universities, Bristol University and the University of Exeter. We strongly urge Cardiff University to demonstrate its leadership in the academic community by being the first Welsh university to publicly declare a climate emergency, to help move forwards the sense of national urgency on this matter.
Read more and add your name to the letter here.
The Council of Trinity College, Cambridge, has voted to withdraw the college from the USS pension scheme. USS is a mutual scheme with more than 400,000 members across the UK, and Trinity’s action undermines pension provision not only for its own employees but for staff across the entire pre-1992 Higher Education sector. They’ve admitted that the scheme is in good health, but are going ahead with this mover anyway. This needs to be resisted in the strongest terms, if necessary, by an academic boycott. So-called “grey-listing” procedures have already been initiated by UCU at its recent 2019 Congress.
Read more and sign the petition, initiated by UCU Branch Officers at Cardiff and Sheffield Universities, here.