Belfast Telegraph

Queen's University 'disappointed' at lecturers' decision to strike

Queen's University has expressed its opposition to planned industrial action by lecturers over pension reform.

In its statement, Queen's University said it is "disappointed" at the decision to take industrial action.

A spokesperson for Ulster University said it accepted pension reform was "challenging for all involved" and it would endeavour to minimise the impact strike action had on students. 

Staff at the two universities join their colleagues at 61 universities across the United Kingdom in taking a four-week period of industrial action over pensions.

Strike action is due to begin on Thursday, and will continue with a five-day walkout taking place on the days before and after the weekend.

The University and College Union (UCU), which represents lecturers across the UK.

The protest is against changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme, the largest principal private pension scheme in place for lecturers in the UK.

Lecturers are opposing a proposal to end the benefit element of the scheme, to be replaced with a defined contribution scheme based upon stock market investment performance.

UCU have said gambling with the pension scheme in this way will leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement than current set-up.

A spokeswoman said: "The University does not support industrial action and will be taking all necessary steps to ensure that it is ‘business as usual’, with minimal impact on the quality of services and support provided to our students and other stakeholders.”

An Ulster University spokesperson said: "There is no doubt that the process of pension reform is challenging for all involved and that difficult decisions will need to be taken.  We understand the strength of feeling amongst some staff arising from the reform proposals and respect the right of staff to take part in authorised industrial action.

"We also understand that this strike action is unsettling for staff and for students and are working to minimise any impact on campus or possible disruption to the learning experience.  We are taking steps to ensure that our students are not disadvantaged by this industrial action over the weeks ahead."

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