The turnout for today’s strike action at Tremough Campus of the University of Exeter, in Penryn, was a solid show of force. Students had a rallied around the cause of the staff and turned out in great numbers.

Photo of the UCU strike at Penryn Campus, February 2018
Photo of the UCU strike at Penryn Campus, February 2018

The strike today is due to UK universities intransigence on the pension issue. This would be the third time the USS pension scheme has been reduced. At the same time, it has been revealed that the pension boss has been awarded an £82,000 pay rise, taking his salary to £566,000 a year. The proposals put forward from UK Universities would take around £10,000 per year from each retiree.

UCU to their credit, have had independent financial assessments completed which have been rejected by UK Universities. This is very similar to the recent attacks made by Royal Mail against their scheme, the CWU had proposals drawn up which would be financially viable which were met with flat out refusals. This complete lack of negotiation leaves no doubts about the true intentions of businesses operating in this way. It is an ideological attack not just on the living standards of retires after a lifetime of hard work, it is an attack on the trade unions themselves. If they can force these issues further erosions of terms and conditions are sure to follow. This has implications for everyone in society, as slippage in the standards that are accepted soon spread through other businesses.

We must support those on strike. They deserve a decent guaranteed pension, just we all do. The strike continues tomorrow morning at Penryn, please pop along, and show your support.

Photo of Jennifer Forbes at the picket line outside Penryn Campus
Photo of Jennifer Forbes at the picket line outside Penryn Campus
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