30 September 2019 | last updated: 1 October 2019
The National Union of Students (NUS) and UCU have issued a joint statement saying students stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with staff in the ongoing disputes over pay and pensions.
The statement outlines the shared commitment of both organisations to defending education, and calls on students to organise solidarity action in support of UCU members fighting attacks on pay and pensions.
The statement also asks students to contact their institution to raise concerns about the impact potential disruption may have on their studies, and put pressure on university employers to address the concerns of staff.
UCU has pledged to work closely with NUS to explain to students why the current ballots are taking place and commit to meaningful negotiations to resolve the disputes.
Last year, university campuses were brought to a standstill by unprecedented levels of strike action when UCU members lost 14 days’ pay to defend their pensions. The union is also calling for action on pay, gender pay, casualised contracts and unsustainable workloads.
Sixty-nine institutions are being balloted in the row over Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pensions, while 147 institutions are being balloted at the same time as part of a dispute over pay, workloads, casualisation and equality. Ballots opened on Monday 9 September and will close on Wednesday 30 October. The union’s higher education committee will meet to consider the results on Friday 1 November.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘UCU and NUS have a shared commitment to defending education and we are proud of our joint work in striving for a better deal for staff and students. Staff’s working conditions are students’ learning conditions which is why it’s vital that we stand up against attacks on pay, pensions, workload and job insecurity. We welcome the support of NUS as we fight for the future of our universities.’
NUS president Zamzam Ibrahim said: ‘Staff are the cornerstone of higher education and should be properly rewarded. NUS stands shoulder to shoulder with UCU in the fight for fair pay and pensions, and decent working conditions.’
Full UCU and NUS statement on pay and pensions ballots