Many Scottish Universities will be striking throughout February and March, following an ongoing row regarding pensions. The University of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, St. Andrews, Stirling and Strathclyde are all among those to strike. Five of these seven will begin striking on February 22. The news of the strike has led to concern for students, who will be affected by the ramifications of a strike. The reaction of staff is in response to planned pension changes by Universities UK – which are affecting hundreds of staff across dozens of Universities in the United Kingdom. Read on for the full story.
The University of Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, St. Andrews and Strathclyde will begin striking on Thursday 22nd February. The University of Edinburgh and University of Stirling will join in the following week, as the strike gathers pace – with the 26th, 27th and 28th all being allotted for strike action – meaning the equivalent of a week will be disrupted. As for March, official plans include nine strike days. From Monday 5th to Thursday 8th, staff will be striking. The following week is currently allotted to fall victim to a strike in its entirety. It is currently unclear as to whether or not every University listed will engage in all fourteen strike days. Edinburgh and Stirling are planning on making up for lost time by striking on the 19th and 20th of March.
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 under a week, with so far no progress being made on the strike being called off.