Queen’s University Belfast has joined the growing list of Universities in the United Kingdom that will be striking during February and March. Some of the dates have now been released, with staff set to strike for thirteen days, beginning on February 22. This news will be of 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 – which are affecting hundreds of University staff. Read on for the full story.
It had initially been unclear as to whether or not Queen’s University Belfast would join the strike. Yet confirmation was received last week, and now some of the dates have been made public. The strike will kick off on Thursday 22nd February, followed by Friday 23rd February. The strike will gather pace the week after, with the 26th, 27th and 28th all being allotted for strike action – meaning the equivalent of a week will be disrupted. Eight days in March will also fall victim to the strike, with the dates to be confirmed at a later date.
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.
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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. At a crucial time in the second semester, this news will be very worrying for students, with lectures, assignment grading, mentoring and other academic functions simply ceasing temporarily. The strike is due to start in little over a week, with an impasse so far yet to be bridged.