Uninvited guests interrupt vice-chancellor’s graduation dinner — March 8, 2018

Uninvited guests interrupt vice-chancellor’s graduation dinner

Outsourced workers at the University of London (UoL) interrupted a graduation dinner hosted by vice-chancellor Sir Adrian Smith, calling on him to bring them in-house and put an end to zero-hour contracts. Continue reading

Pension strike latest – victory is close as divisions among employers widen — March 7, 2018

Pension strike latest – victory is close as divisions among employers widen

Oxford academics voting 442 to 2 against pension changes. Who were the two!!?

The pension strike is nearing the end of its 3rd week – the last day is tomorrow (Thursday 8 March), with the whole of next week designated for strike action.

On a national level it has been a massive success – every day more Vice-Chancellors have come out to call for a resolution to the strike which meets staff demands, and talks are continuing at ACAS with an offer from the employers expected later today. Here’s a report from the BBC on how Oxford have just changed their position – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-43316336

All we need to do is keep up the pressure! Many of us have been on strike the whole time, many more have taken some part in the action.

Now more than ever we need your help – remember we are fighting for everyone’s pensions. To ensure the strike stays strong enough to get a firm commitment to keep defined benefit pensions we need others to share the burden.

If you have not yet been on strike please join us – tomorrow is the national Women’s Strike and it would be great if we could have a strong presence on the picket line before the rally in Russell Square at 1pm.

See below for some tips from UCU as to what you can do to support the strike in other ways.

  1.   Please send an email to our senior leaders to express your concern, and that it is in the University of London’s best interest to do whatever they can to help resolve this issue as quickly as possible. Please remind them that this organisation depends on all our good will, and tell them that you, as a colleague, are appalled that these changes to our pension are even being considered.

    2.    Please consider wearing displays of support like the popular ‘There Is No USS Deficit’ badge. It would be hugely helpful to show that you do not believe the narrative that these cuts are necessary – the Financial Times and many other established commentators have seriously questioned the USS valuation they are based on, and it is rapidly losing any kind of credibility.

    3. Use the super simple tool provided by UCU to contact your MP and ask them to help protect our pensions: https://www.ucu.org.uk/USS-emailyourMP– It takes less than a minute!

    4.    Please be aware that the USS employee consultation phase begins on 19th March. All USS pension holders should voice concern and use this to put as much pressure on USS in this way, too, not to go ahead with reforms as currently planned.

    5.    Last but not least: as stated before it is never too late to start striking yourself. We have already been tremendously successful – the renewed talks between UUK and UCU this week would not have taken place without the strikes. It is now more important than ever to keep up the pressure and realise the enormous power we, the 190,000 pension holders, have collectively. And remember: if we win this dispute, we will all benefit!

Update re health and safety during pensions strike — March 5, 2018

Update re health and safety during pensions strike

The IWGB can confirm that having chased our original email re health and safety during the pension strikes (iwgb-universityoflondon.org/2018/02/25/health-and-safety-during-the-current-industrial-action/) we have received a reply from the University which solely states that our ‘points have been noted’.

This can presumably be interpreted as meaning that no measures have been taken to ensure that the University is safe, despite the absence through industrial action of fire marshals etc.

Please bear this in mind when working in the building or inviting visitors…



Message from UoL VC re pensions —

Message from UoL VC re pensions

This is from the intranet today – obviously ANY statement is welcome, but this does kind of define ‘sitting on the fence’….

“You will all be aware of the current strike action by the members of the University and College Union (UCU) in relation to proposed changes to the USS pension scheme.

I was pleased to learn that further talks have been agreed between UCU and Universities UK on the future of the scheme following a meeting last week. I welcome this development as a positive step towards reaching a mutually agreeable settlement and look forward to the outcome of fresh discussions beginning today.”

Pension strikes – what’s been happening and what happens next – message from the IWGB — March 2, 2018

Pension strikes – what’s been happening and what happens next – message from the IWGB

Hi all,

I am just writing to give a quick update on the pension strikes.

The story so far…

 As you are hopefully aware, big changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pensions were announced at the end of January, which would mean an end to the defined benefit scheme and a probable loss of at least 40 per cent in the value of pensions going forward. It is a near certainty that SAUL would have been next. Continue reading

Acas to arbitrate talks as pension dispute moves into second phase —
Health and Safety during the current industrial action — February 25, 2018

Health and Safety during the current industrial action

See below for a letter from our branch secretary to Chris Cobb raising concerns over health and safety during the strikes:

Dear Chris

I am writing to ask that the University confirm that during UCUs strike action that the campus remain safe for staff and students to remain working on?

Given the number of staff taking strike action or refusing to cross picket lines, are all necessary health and safety requirements (both outlined in the University’s own policy and that of the relevant legislation) being met? Continue reading

Latest – Universities UK agree to talks, but strike continues —

Latest – Universities UK agree to talks, but strike continues



Another well-supported if extremely cold day of strike action on Friday culminated in the news that talks would resume with Universities UK next Tuesday, as more VCs broke ranks to call for a negotiated solution (the list was 18 at the last count, including Cambridge!).

However, as UUK are still ludicrously claiming that the decision to close the DC scheme cannot be part of negotiations, the strikes will continue!

It is clear that the action is working – and it’s more important than ever that we step it up now that the momentum is and the employers are wavering! We are almost there – please join us in supporting the picket at the front of Senate House on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week and help seal a historic victory and save our pensions!

Any questions – give Danny a shout on 07783719479.

What the papers say about lecturers’ strike action over pension changes —

What the papers say about lecturers’ strike action over pension changes

strikebannerTens of thousands of lecturers and other staff braved freezing temperatures to take part in the first day of protests against changes to their pensions. And, to show solidarity, many IWGB members turned out to support the picket line at Senate House.

They stood alongside the students who were supporting their teachers while journalists captured, in images and words, the biggest industrial action even seen in UK universities. Stories featured in many local, national and international media outlets – too numerous to list.

Here are some from The Guardian: University lecturers begin strike action over pensions; The Guardian view on the lecturers’ strike: a deficit in thinking; The solution to university pensions? Better fund managers; ‘The whole university system is broken’: your best comments today; I’m striking with university colleagues as our pensions are being destroyed. Most of the Guardian’s coverage of the strike can be found on its Higher Education page. Continue reading