Unfortunately I have to be in Parliament today for some important votes and meetings, but I’ve sent the following message of solidarity to The University of Sheffield’s staff who have been on strike for the last three weeks. I visited them on the picket lines last week and wish them every success in their campaign to protect their pensions.
“The action that’s taken place here and on picket lines across the country is not just in defence of your pensions and those of your colleagues, but students’ learning conditions too.
This is a decision by UUK taking place in the context of ongoing efforts to marketise education, and the difficult financial situation of universities is no excuse to attack our hard working and productive academic staff. We need to see full transparency from UUK about how they’ve made their decisions, and how they’ve arrived at the numbers they’re using to do so.
Our universities are some of our country’s greatest assets, and we attract talent from all over the world – why on earth would we drive them away by taking away 40% of their pensions?
My full solidarity goes out to UCU members and the students who have supported them throughout – let’s hope for a decent concession soon, so lecturers can get back to doing what you do best – teaching.”