Staff members across several Universities in the United Kingdom will be striking throughout February and March, following an ongoing row regarding pensions. The strike will be affecting several Universities based in London. Brunel University, City University, Goldsmiths University, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, SOAS and UCL are all set for strike action. The news has caused concern for students – who would be impacted by the consequences 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.
Brunel, City, Goldsmiths, Imperial, Holloway, SOAS and UCL will all begin striking along with the majority of the UK on Thursday 22nd February, before following up the next day – Friday 23rd February. King’s College London and Queen Mary will join in on Week 2, which begins on Monday 26th February, and continues on the 27th and 28th. This will mean the equivalent of a week would have been lost to strike action. 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 be full of strike action. If the strike makes it this far – both King’s and Queen Mary plan on striking on both Monday 19th March and Tuesday 20th March. It is currently unclear as to whether or not every University listed will engage in all fourteen strike days.
Universities College Union Official Strike Plans
Week One: 22nd-23rd February
Week Two: 26th-28th February
Week Three: 5th-8th March
Week Four: 12th-16th 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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The proposition of strike action will apply pressure on Universities UK. 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 set to cease temporarily. But students can also appreciate the need to strike – with these changes having the potential to be highly detrimental to staff. The strike is due to start in under a week, with so far no progress being made on the strike being called off.