Lancaster Uni staff reject deal as strikes continue

University staff continue to strike in Lancaster
University staff continue to strike in Lancaster

Staff at Lancaster University have rejected a deal between union leaders and employers over a pension dispute and said strikes would continue.

The strikes, which are now in their fourth week and have seen classes being cancelled in over 60 universities, including Lancaster, threaten to disrupt final exams and assessments in the summer term.

The strike action began over planned changes to pensions, which the University and College Union (UCU) said could mean a £10,000 per year reduction in retirement income.

An agreement between the UCU and Universities UK, announced after days of negotiations, had offered a deal - but this failed to convince a meeting of university representatives on Tuesday.

Lancaster Universities and College Union Branch Secretary, Dr Nils Markusson, said: “This was not an agreement, it was a proposal. Our modelling showed that USS members would still be considerably worse off under the rejected proposals.

“Where we go from here will be discussed in detail during Wednesday’s strike meeting at 11.30am in the Gregson, Lancaster. This week, the strike remains on.”

Lancaster members had sent two delegates to a meeting in London, who said they heard how unpopular the deal was with members, noting that more than 7,000 had signed an open letter overnight calling for it to be rejected. The National Union of Students Postgraduate committee also issued a statement strongly critical of the deal.

More than 160 members joined the picket line at Lancaster University on Tuesday, March 13, the biggest turnout yet. They urged employers’ body Universities UK to consider a better offer as soon as possible.