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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 November 2014

UCU pensions: reinstate the action!

Sam Morecroft, Sheffield UCU education officer (personal capacity)

On 20 November the UCU lecturers' union suspended the marking boycott started two weeks earlier.

The boycott, in opposition to pension cuts at pre-1992 universities, began after the highest ballot turnout in UCU history, with 78% voting to strike and 87% voting for action short of a strike.

Although marking boycotts can be difficult, the action held strong. At my own university, I've been blown away by the determination of young and casualised members to fight.

The employers are clearly divided. Five universities - Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, Essex and SOAS - publicly declared the proposed changes are unworkable, unsustainable and unnecessary.

But some universities, including York, Liverpool and Bradford, threatened to dock 100% of pay for workers taking part in the boycott. York backed down following a national backlash from staff and students. Other pay docks resulted in local strike ballots.

This dispute was winnable. Our strong position has been squandered by the union executive.

The promise of a national strike if members were victimised never materialised. Following the strong ballot result, UCU promptly abandoned its opposition to moving from final salary to career average pensions - a red line for many members. Finally, UCU has suspended the marking boycott until 15 January with just the promise of more negotiations.

Branches should support the call for an emergency pensions conference and to censure the leadership, the majority of which are Labour members.

Preparations should begin now to resume the dispute in January, this time including strike action to show the employers we are serious.

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In The Socialist 26 November 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

14 day deadline to breadline

Hands off our NHS

Rochester: 'Business as usual' politics falling apart

World economy - heading for the junkyard

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Anger erupts in Ferguson over acquittal of killer cop

Ireland: establishment attacks water tax protests

Anger grows over missing Mexican students


Socialist Party features

Housing crisis! What do socialists say?

Education: "a hurricane of ill thought initiatives"


Socialist Party youth and students

Students march for free education

Victories against sexism in Leeds

Fast Food Rights campaign


Socialist Party workplace news

Health workers walkout in second NHS pay strike

UCU pensions: reinstate the action!

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Are you a socialist?

Council beaten on austerity tax

TUSC says no to cuts in Notts

Way to go, Watford!


Socialist Party reviews and readers' comments

Assassin's Creed Unity

The People Speak: Democracy is not a spectator sport

NHS campaigners must fight all cuts


 

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