It's coming, and it is all down to the employers who have not supported a fair pension for university workers. The average employee will lose £10,000 a year from his or her pension if these changes go through and the pension was not particularly generous in the first place. It will badly impact on the ability to recruit and retain staff, which will undermine the university system and the education of students for many years to come. So the stakes are high.
It is now a question of short term pain for long term gain. Yes, students will be affected by the industrial action but if we can maximise the impact from day one, we will shorten the dispute and minimise the effect. And impact is everything because if we dilute the action and there is no real effect, then rest assured that the strikes will be drawn out and the outcome less certain .... apart from putting higher education at risk altogether.
The time has come. As Sally Hunt, the UCU president, said today: "I know too that causing disruption to students is the last thing you want to do. But I also know that in this situation a decision to work while others strike is not a neutral choice. Put simply: working will make it harder for your colleagues who are on strike to win and easier for Universities UK to get away with their pension cuts."
Please heed what Sally says and join us in telling the employers how much we care about our higher education and how much they should value the staff who make it the envy of the world. Aston is out on strike from Thursday of this week until and including Wednesday, February 28th. We will have picket lines and will be providing updates so please keep an eye on our website.