This morning Jo Grady proudly announced on Twitter, “we have won our pensions back”, as university employers have confirmed that they will restore the 35% cut to pensions that was made last April.
In contrast, there has been widespread anger from academics on Twitter, and condemnation of the action from the University of Manchester UCU, as the members do not believe that the deal is acceptable.
Grady applauded UCU strike action and voting for ensuring that what was thought to be impossible has now been achieved, and championed it as one of the “biggest wins in UK trade union history”.
The agreement was reached last night and it includes an “end to zero-hour contracts, a pay award and pay spine review, and progress in every single area of our pay and working conditions dispute”.
The offer ensures that these proposals, including the restoration of pensions, will be completed in the time frame of a year provided that they successfully pass through the union’s democratic process.
Votes for this will close on Friday which is when the Union’s Higher Education Committee will meet to discuss the next steps.
This has not been met well by academics, including the University of Manchester’s branch. One academic described the UCU as ‘a union machine that treats its own members with […] contempt for their intelligence’.
Cannot describe how infuriating it is to have a union machine that treats its own members with such contempt for their intelligence, uses casualised workers as a prop for misinformation & attempts to sell a ‘deal’ so thin you can’t actually find any concrete articulation of it. https://t.co/VnirWhjNGd— Jaz is on strike (@JasiBP) March 16, 2023
The University of Manchester branch of the UCU has agreed, at a ‘hybrid branch meeting’ today, to ‘not call off strikes regardless of the e-ballot result’, and to make a formal complaint about the ‘problematic and manipulative e-ballot’.
Reportedly, the meeting was both ‘well-attended’ and angry. One member is reported to have claimed that the union was impacting their wellbeing, claiming they were ‘a ball of stress’, and another claimed that they were being treated ‘like children’.
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