Over the past few weeks University and College Union (UCU) have announced a series of strikes in order to defend their pensions. Proposals from Universities UK would have devastating effects on their pension schemes with staff set to lose £10,000 per year from their retirement income. Universities UK has ignored staff concerns and is committed to a hard-line approach without compromise. The strikes began today, with 14 days of industrial action spread over the next few weeks planned by UCU.
The proposed changes should be seen in the context of the huge cuts to further education. As universities are more starved of government cash, we’ve seen job cuts, poorer working conditions and even more privatisation.
This provides an open door to arms companies like BAE Systems who pay universities to design and carry out research work which will be used in developing weapons sold around the world. Solidarity between university staff and students is vital in building a movement committed to ending university ties with the arms trade.