Fresher’s week strike threat over pension changes

TRADE unions have threatened strike action on the first day of the new academic year, in protest over pension changes that unions argue will leave the lowest paid staff worse off.

Photo - BBC

Photo – BBC

An indicative ballot, to show general feeling amongst the branches of UNISON, Unite, Prospect and the UCU, were 15-1 in favor of strike action, to take place on the 22nd September. A further ballot will need to be taken before strike action can go ahead, with unions hoping that negotiations will occur beforehand that will make the strike unnecessary.

Union staff at the university set up a soup kitchen outside Old College to demonstrate the impact the pension changes would have. A further protest took place today, 20th June, outside the International Politics Building, in which a meeting of the University Council was taking place. Around 70 members of Unite, Unison, the University and College Union (UCU) and Prospect attended.

‘Unfair’

This is the latest in a series of industrial disputes to take place at the university, though unlike previous disputes this is focused on Aberystwyth, rather than part of a national Union campaign.

Martin Wilding, of UCU’s Aberystwyth branch, said: “We urge the university council to reconsider at their meeting next week and vote these plans down. The pension proposals are unfair – it’s as simple as that. They leave the low paid significantly worse off, whilst those at the top will have a decent pension.”

Unite organiser Allan Card said: “Low paid university workers should not be expected to pick up the tab for the university’s financial difficulties, particularly as those at the top are benefiting through performance related pay.”

Aberystwyth University have been asked to comment.