The president of the National Union of Students, Aaron Porter, yesterday told Bournemouth University students and staff that he supported the one-day strike called by the University and College Union today (24 March) over threats to jobs, pensions and pay across the Higher and Further Education sectors.
Lecturers, researchers, instructors and other academic staff at Bournemouth University will join colleagues at around 500 colleges and universities across the UK on strike in a row over changes to their pension and pay cuts: the first UK-wide strike action in universities for five years and in colleges since 2008.
UCU members will walk out over plans for greater pension contributions from staff and an increase in the pension age, against a backdrop of a second consecutive real-terms annual pay cut. Staff will be on picket lines at institutions throughout the country with many branches joining together to hold regional rallies in cities such as Leeds, Liverpool, Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Birmingham and Newcastle.
Speaking during a visit to the University, Mr Porter said: “I support the UCU action because it is an appropriate tactic in a difficult situation. Strike action is a contentious issue for lots of students, but these are shared difficulties and there is a greater chance of change when all of us are working together.”
David Heathcote, Branch Chair of Bournemouth University UCU, said: ‘Every cut damages and degrades the quality of education in the UK. The consequences of these attacks on job security and pay will be felt, not just by every UCU member, but by every person who seeks to benefit from higher education in the UK.’
‘UCU believes that the university sector needs to unite against these cuts,’ he added. ‘We want to work with the employers to protect jobs and ensure that British universities are able to offer high quality education to their students. That’s why we want to negotiate a nationally agreed approach to improving job security and defending provision.’
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘University and college staff really value their pension rights and have made their views of the detrimental changes crystal clear. Strike action is always a last resort but the attacks on pensions and pay have created real anger and, instead of burying their heads in the sand, the employers need to respond urgently to our concerns.
‘Staff are sick to the back teeth of being told that their pay and pensions need to be cut to pay for an economic crisis created by others.’
For further information:
John Brissenden, Branch Secretary, Bournemouth University UCU