Following a staff vote regarding a dispute over pensions, a mammoth 85% of staff at the University of Aberdeen have backed taking strike action. This news obviously comes as a concern to students, who would be affected by the ramifications of such an action. The reaction of staff is in response to planned pension changes by Universities UK – something that has been prompting similar discussions at other Universities in the United Kingdom. Read on for the full story.
The backing of strike action follows a recent meeting which involved both academic staff at the University of Aberdeen, along with administrative staff. 429 members of staff voted, with 85.9% agreeing that strike action could be taken. Separately, 93% suggested they would be prepared to act on their concerns without striking. A potential strike could have huge consequences for students. Without staff, lectures, assignment grading, mentoring and other academic functions would simply cease temporarily.
As mentioned above, this vote was taken in response to planned pension changes by Universities UK. Universities UK are planning on changing the pension scheme, with a recommended change to a model that would see pension income linked to changes in the stock market. This would replace the current model, which provides a guaranteed retirement income. Most see the planned change as a negative step, causing concern for staff. While a strike normally comes as a last resort, it could be necessary.
This move will put pressure on Universities UK, as will other actions being taken by other Universities that are set to be affected by the planned changes. A deadline of February 22 has been set. If nothing has changed by then, many campuses in the United Kingdom are expected to witness two weeks of strike action. At a crucial time in the second semester, this news will be very worrying for students. This story is likely to develop in the next few weeks, any further announcements will be covered here.
Update: Strikes will begin on Thursday February 22, and will continue on Friday February 23. Week 2 – three consecutive days beginning Monday February 26 and ending Wednesday February 28. Week 3 – Four consecutive days beginning Monday March 5 and ending Thursday March 8. Week 4 – Full week walk-out beginning Monday March 12 and ending Friday March 16.