Pensions

Support the university strikes

On 4-5 November, the University and College Union (UCU) announced the results of two national ballots. Higher Education (HE) sector members were balloted on two disputes: the long-running “USS” pensions issue, and the “Four Fights”: pay, workload, casualisation, and inequality. Most of the workers involved are are insecure jobs, with long hours and modest pay. Their cause is essentially the same as that of the NHS workers consulting on action to improve their 3% pay deal, the local government workers voting on strikes against the 1.75% offer, or the bin workers now and recently in dispute in...

University disputes: how to win

A UK-wide re-ballot in the university disputes would de-mobilise tens of thousands of our members who could instead be building effective action on campus. With admissions processes ongoing over the winter and exams at many universities in January, HE staff have significant disruptive power in the immediate future. We need to leverage that, for example through building up marking backlogs and then marking and assessment boycotts, coupled with targeted strike action. Those who need to re-ballot and get strike mandates ready for next year can and should join us for a stronger wave of action from...

Universities: act on the strike mandates!

On 4-5 November the University and College Union (UCU) announced that two national ballots have shown a strong mandate for resuming strikes by our members over issues that have long plagued Higher Education. The first ballot was over new proposed cuts to the USS pensions scheme (covering “pre-1992” universities). During the middle of the pandemic, a USS pension revaluation significantly under-valued its worth and has resulted in the scheme’s management demanding raised contributions from its members. Research by the union suggests that the average USS member has already lost £240,000 due to...

Royal Mail: union embraces partnership

After a period of turbulence, including an industrial action that was struck down by the courts, the principal Royal Mail union CWU is embracing a partnership approach with the company. A joint online Q&A was held in late April, hosted by the CWU, where both parties answered questions from workers. This love-in failed to deal with the real issues and consisted of vague promises to fix things. The union has lost so much ground over the last 30 years it is unrecognisable from the organisation that once enjoyed real power in the workplace. Its activist base has shrunk dramatically, with what...

Universities ballot for strikes on course cuts

Multiple branches of the further and higher education union UCU are heading for industrial action after successful ballots. Prison educators working for private firm Novus across forty-nine prisons and young offenders’ institutions were due to take their first day of strike action on 26 April, with two more to follow on 11 and 12 May. That dispute is over health and safety. Staff at London’s United Colleges Group have voted to strike over increased workloads. UCU branches at Leicester and Liverpool have held successful ballots over redundancies, which at Leicester appear to be targeting union...

ASLEF votes for Tube strike

London Underground drivers in the Aslef union have voted by a 97.3% majority for industrial action to protect terms and conditions. With Tube funding, heavily reliant on fares, having collapsed due to the pandemic, workers expect bosses to attack conditions such as pensions as part of a commitment to the Tory government, which has given TfL a series of bailouts, to return to being “self-financing” by 2023. Although no specific cuts have been announced, two TfL reports have explicitly called for pension reform. RMT, TSSA, and Unite, the other three unions organising on London Underground, have...

France’s pension strikes still alive

The strike action renewed every day at SNCF (national rail) and RATP (Paris local transport) is over, but that doesn’t mean that the battle against the government’s Bill is at an end. On the contrary. Not a day passes without one sector or another making itself heard with never-before-seen actions. The strike is still alive, whether it be: • the strike of the firefighters who demonstrated on 28 January • the strike of the street cleaners and refuse workers in Ile-de-France or Marseille, who have been on strike for more than a week • the strike of the energy workers who have organised a series...

Industrial news in brief

University staff represented by the University and Colleges Union (UCU) are set to strike again in disputes over pensions, pay, equalities and casualisation with a series of walk-outs scheduled over fourteen days beginning Thursday 20 February. A further fourteen institutions are joining the sixty who struck in the autumn after reballots got them over the 50% threshold. In Scotland members of EIS (another, Scotland-only, union) have also rejected the employers’ offer, bringing the total number of mandates for action to seventy-six. Despite eight days of strike action last term the employers...

Students and the pensions movement in France

David from L'Etincelle, a grouping within the NPA (Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste, New Anticapitalist Party), talked with Michael Elms from Solidarity. In 2018 there was a movement about selection. In 2019 they increased fees for students outside the EU by like 1,000%. There was a small movement concerning that: but it was at the same time as the Yellow Vests movement, and it didn’t really get going. The Yellow Vests movement had an effect among some poor students, it was very strong among students for a couple of weeks, but things didn’t go much further than that. What’s the story with...

AWL delegation visits Paris

Since early December, France has been gripped by a mass strike movement over the Macron government’s plan to reform pensions. Workers’ Liberty organised a delegation of socialists of all ages from across the UK to visit France 24-26 January to bring our solidarity to strikers, and to talk to and learn from striking workers and socialist activists about events. By the time that we arrived in France, the movement was entering a new stage. After nearly 50 days of almost-uninterrupted strike action, transport workers were scaling back their action from an all-out strike every day to a series of...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.