15th Nov, 2018

Warwick University employees slam 'unfair' deduction of pay as unprecedented strikes begin

Felix Nobes 22nd Feb, 2018 Updated: 22nd Feb, 2018

WARWICK University employees have called for bosses to reverse a measure which deducts an ‘unfair’ proportion of striking workers pay, as ‘unprecedented’ strikes begin.

Workers from the University of Warwick branch of the University and College Union (UCU) have slammed a ruling which would see striking workers lose more than workers at other universities.

Under university guidelines, those who participate in strike action will have 1/260th of annual contractual pay deducted per day of striking – 28 per cent more than employees at other institutions.

Strikes were called nationally in reaction to a decision to scrap a benefit as part of a university pension scheme which, UCU says, would leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement.

The first wave of strikes will take place today and tomorrow (February 23).

The UCU estimates 25,000 students will see disruption as staff today begin weeks of collective action.

Yet over three-fifths of students say they support the strikes following a YouGov poll.

The demonstrations will see academics and administrative staff walk out for a total of 14 days over the course of a month.

It is believed most universities will not refund students for lost contact time.

The decision to take strike action was supported by over 90 per cent of the UCU members who participated in the ballot.

Warwick’s vice chancellor Stuart Croft has previously declared himself “mystified” by the changes and has called for “alternative approaches” to be explored.

Warwick UCU vice president Duncan Adam said: “The vice chancellor has talked a good game about supporting our aims.

“Now it is time for him to show that his words are linked to actions.

“A deduction of almost 30 per cent from those taking legal and legitimate strike action is manifestly unfair.

“Just like the vice chancellor, we want nothing more than meaningful negotiations to resume so we can go back to work.

“In the meantime we simply ask for fair treatment, in line with colleagues in other universities.”

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “Staff who have delivered the international excellence universities boast of are understandably angry at efforts to slash their pensions.

“They feel let down by vice-chancellors who seem to care more about defending their own pay and perks than the rights of their staff.

“Strike action on this scale has not been seen before on UK campuses, but universities need to know the full scale of the disruption they will be hit with if they refuse to sort this mess out.”

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