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16th April 2018

Strike suspended until further notice

The new wave of strike action was planned to take place during the exam season
Strike suspended until further notice
photo: Simarchy @flickr

The University and Colleges Union (UCU) voted in record numbers to suspend further strike action on Friday 13th April.

64 per cent voted to accept the new proposals from Universities UK (UUK), from a turnout of 63.5 per cent, making the ratio 2:1 in favour.

The strike action in March took place across 65 Russell Group universities for 14 days, and were in protest of UUK’s plans to change lecturers pensions from ‘defined benefit’ to ‘defined contribution’ schemes.

The new proposals included a promise from the University that the original proposed changes to pensions set out by University UK (UUK)  will not be returned to.  A joint expert panel will also be set up to reexamine the proposals, and then to set out new recommendations.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “The union has come a very long way since January when it seemed that the employers’ proposals for a defined contribution pension were to be imposed.

‘Now we have agreement to move forward jointly, looking again at the USS valuation alongside a commitment from the employers to a guaranteed, defined benefit scheme. USS, the regulator and government now need to ensure that UCU and UUK have the space to implement the agreement effectively.

‘We hope this important agreement will hearten workers across the UK fighting to defend their pension rights and was won through the amazing strike action of UCU members.’’

She also thanked all students and staff who had participated in the strike action.

Manchester’s Vice-Chancellor Nancy Rothwell said: “This is extremely welcome news, especially for our students, as we move into this critical exam and assessment period.  I would like to reiterate my commitment to ensuring that all eligible students progress and graduate as planned.’’

She also went on to say that the university would be working closely with the Students’ Union in the coming weeks and months.

The Students’ Union have been contacted for comment.

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