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 the North of England. Durham University, Lancaster University, Newcastle University, the University of Leeds, University of Warwick and University of York will all fall victim to the strikes. 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. Read on for the full story.
Every Northern University listed above will begin striking on the same day – Thursday 22nd February. The strike will continue with action the day after – Friday 23rd February. The following week will see further disruption – with the 26th, 27th and 28th all being designated dates for strike action – meaning the equivalent of a week will have been lost to strikes. 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. It is currently unclear as to whether or not every University listed will engage in all fourteen strike days.
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.
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