University staff across the UK are engaged in the largest industrial action ever seen by the sector, with escalating strike action and work to contract. Staff are striking to protect a defined benefit pension which guarantees a modest retirement income. Universities UK, the body which represents the employers, has insisted that a move towards defined contribution is necessary to save the USS (superannuation) pension scheme, although recent FOI requests & expert analysis suggest that the scheme is safe, and the employers simply want to move the pension liability to members of the scheme.
The board of IPED recognises that a fair pension is essential for a secure retirement and we stand in solidarity with those taking industrial action. Pensions are a gender issue, with women often facing a much smaller pension fund due to the gender pay gap and caring responsibilities. We ask that an intersectional analysis is undertaken of all proposals to save the USS scheme, to ensure that those already marginalised in higher education do not face further penalties in retirement. IPED is also aware that students are resisting efforts by the employers to position them as consumers in conflict with staff. The efforts by students to stand with their lecturers, librarians, administrators, researchers, IT specialists, who shape their university experience, is inspiring and we thank them for this.
The board of IPED stands in solidarity with striking university staff, and is hopeful that the forthcoming talks which will be mediated by ACAS (conciliation service), resolve this dispute in an equitable way.
For more details see here https://www.ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss
Donate to the fighting fund, which will prioritise precarious workers https://www.ucu.org.uk/fightingfund