Students will already be aware that academic staff members of UCU (University and College Union) are planning strike action on the following dates:
- Thursday 22 and Friday February 23 February
- Monday 26, Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 February
- Monday 5, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 7, Thursday 8 March
- Monday 12, Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15, Friday 16 March
The strikes are in response to Universities UK (UUK) plans to impose sweeping changes to staff pensions which UCU has shown will result in staff, especially junior academic staff, receiving significantly less pension when they retire. UUK are currently refusing to return to negotiations with UCU about the current scheme despite repeated demands from UCU and a large number of UK university Vice Chancellors, including the Master of Birkbeck, calling for a return to negotiations.
Academics will have their pay docked for each day of the strike. At Birkbeck, these monies are donated to the student hardship fund.
The National Union of Students supports the strike. Birkbeck Students’ Union has also voted in support of the strike action and produced a FAQ article . Birkbeck Registry has also produced a FAQ sheet from the College’s perspective: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/registry/for-students/Strike%20QA%2022_2_2018-1.pdf
The strikes will have an impact on provision for HCA research students, for example, both the PhD Writing Workshop on February 28 and the Graduate Research Symposium on March 6 have been cancelled. In addition, there may be picket lines on all strike days which you may not wish to cross. Should you wish to express your concerns about the disruption caused to your studies by this impasse with UUK and ensuing industrial action, our staff encourage you to write to the Head of Universities UK, Alistair Jarvis, urging him to return to meaningful talks with UCU, which represents the overwhelming majority of staff in USS (the university pension scheme): firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on the pension dispute, and the UCU message to students, can be found here: http://bit.ly/2EFlCe2