The University and College Union (UCU) have confirmed that the University of Southampton will be part of the 61 universities across the country to face strike action in protest over recent pension changes.
Earlier today, the UCU wrote to 61 universities, including Southampton, to notify the institutions that they will face strike action starting on Thursday 22nd February.
This decision comes after a survey conducted last week which found 87.5% of University of Southampton UCU members who voted, stated that they were prepared to take industrial action.
The union have stated that there will be an escalation of organised strikes across a four week period.
Week 1 – Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd February
Week 2 – Monday 26th, Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th February
Week 3 – Monday 5th, Tuesday 6th, Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th March
Week 4 – Monday 12th, Tuesday 13th, Wednesday 14th, Thursday 15th and Friday 16th March
There will be a total of 14 days of strikes, including a full 5 day walk out in week 4.
Discussions last week between UCU and the employers’ representative, Universities UK (UUK), failed to reach an agreement. UUK have since passed the casting vote to change the pension scheme in question.
The changes implemented will end the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme pension scheme.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt commented on the strike action:
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.
The University’s press office has released this following holding statement:
The University’s primary concern is that our students are not disadvantaged and that there is minimal disruption to their studies and progression. The University has established processes to manage this type of disruption and will be working closely with the Students’ Union and other colleagues to implement contingency plans, so that students can continue with their studies and course work assignments as planned.