Lecturers to go on strike over changes to pensions

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Lecturers at Ulster University and Queen’s will begin strike action on February 22.

An “escalating” wave of stoppages over a four-week period will begin with the two-day walkout by members of the University and College Union (UCU).

The protest surrounds changes to pensions.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘Staff who have delivered the international excellence universities boast of are understandably angry at efforts to slash their pensions.

“They feel let down by vice-chancellors who seem to care more about defending their own pay and perks than the rights of their staff.

“Strike action on this scale has not been seen before on UK campuses, but universities need to know the full scale of the disruption they will be hit with if they refuse to sort this mess out.”

A further three days of strike action will take place beginning February 26.

There will then be four days of strikes from March 5-8 and a full five-day walkout the following week (March 12–16).

The dispute centres on Universities UK’s proposals to end the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme.

UCU believes this would leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement than under the current set-up.

In the recent strike ballot, UCU members overwhelmingly backed industrial action.

Overall, 88% of members who voted backed strike action and 93% backed action short of a strike. The turnout was 58%.

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