As you’ll be aware, a strike has been called by UCU after the breakdown of negotiations over devastating changes to the USS pension scheme.
In line with the ongoing marketization of HE, a majority – by no means all – of the employer body UUK want to change the scheme in ways that mean individuals will lose between 20% and 40% of retirement benefits depending on length of service etc. and a typical lecturer stands to lose around £10,000 a year.
It will go from being one of the best pensions in the country to worse than the pensions available for school teachers and post-92 universities.
And once the current scheme has gone, it’s gone. No more certainty about a solid income in retirement – the risk is moved to the individual and down to the performance of the stock market.
Our own VC, Stuart Croft, is one of the employers opposed to what has been proposed by UUK. You can see his position here: https://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/execteam/entry/which_way_forward/
At Warwick, the ballot for industrial action produced an unprecedented 57% turnout, with 91% voting to strike and 95% voting for action short of a strike (that is, working to contract and no more).
The strike is also remarkable for its length: 14 days in all, between 22nd February and 16th March. So those striking will lose 14 days of pay. Most will absorb this loss. However, some colleagues will find this loss hits them so hard that they will struggle to make ends meet.
This includes our colleagues, including PhD students, on hourly-paid contracts. For example, seminars relating to a cancelled lecture won’t happen and colleagues who had been planning for that income won’t be able to claim for those sessions.
The local union, Warwick UCU, has set up a fund to support vulnerable members hardest hit by the loss of pay. Please contribute to this hardship fund to help the most vulnerable of our colleagues. £20 from everyone will go a long way. Not everyone is a member of the union, but everyone whose pension is with USS will benefit if this industrial action succeeds.
UCU membership at Warwick (https://warwickucu.org.uk/) has increased dramatically over the last couple of years. You can of course join the union at any point, here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/join. The more, the stronger.
The link so you can donate to the fund is here: http://warwickucu.org.uk/local-hardship-fund
Warwick UCU Committee