University and College Union sells out UK lecturers strike
18 April 2018
The struggle by around 50,000 lecturers, librarians, administration staff and technicians to defend their pensions and conditions has been betrayed by the University and College Union (UCU).
Last Friday, the union leadership achieved its desired goal. After 14 days of strikes—which the UCU, in collaboration with management, had sought to close down—members voted to accept an offer from the Universities UK (UUK) by a 64 percent to 36 percent majority.
UCU leader Sally Hunt hailed the result as a “clear majority” in favour of the proposals. In reality, despite the UCU’s incessant pressure on members to accept the offer over the nine-day balloting period, more than a third of the 33,973 who voted rejected the deal.
In addition, almost 20,000 (19,442) did not vote at all. This means that 31,672 members out of a potential 53,415, have not endorsed the deal–fully 59.2 percent of those balloted.
Nonetheless, in the absence of a political alternative to the trade union leaders, the bureaucracy has been able to shut down the action.
The strike was the largest ever held at higher education institutions in the UK, with workers at 65 universities striking to oppose the decimation of their pensions.
Under UUK proposals some members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) were set to lose more than £200,000 of their retirement income, and many others, tens of thousands of pounds. The ultimate aim of UUK, as stated in their August 2017 policy document, is to end a national pension scheme altogether in favour of “flexible schemes.”
The UCU leadership claims to have extracted concessions from UUK but this is a lie. Management has only committed to convening a “Joint…