Belfast Telegraph

Ulster University and Queen's lecturers to strike over pension rows

University lecturers in Northern Ireland are about to begin a four week period of industrial action over pensions.

Queen's and UU staff are among workers from 61 UK universities taking part in the action.

Due to begin on Thursday, the strike will continue with a five-day walkout either side of the weekends.

88% of the Union's (UCU) membership voted in favour. of taking action.

The dispute involves proposals made by UK Universities to end benefit element of their pension scheme replacing it 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.

Katharine Clarke, UCU Northern Ireland Official, said: "It is disappointing that QUB and Ulster University have refused to exercise their influence to persuade UUK to compromise and find a negotiated solution when other universities have done exactly that.

"Clearly the management of our universities are unconcerned about their staff facing poverty in retirement after a lifetime of dedicated service.

"This is totally unacceptable and has left our members with no alternative but to strike to defend the pensions they have paid into over the course of their employment."

Both Student Unions at QUB and Ulster University have voted to support their striking lecturers.

Ulster University Student President Kevin McStravock said: "We are concerned about the disruption that this action will cause for our members and to this end are working with Senior Management within the university to provide as much information as we can to the students, and to put in place measures to mitigate the effects that this action will have on students, whilst also supporting our trade union colleagues.

"Whist we acknowledge that the pension dispute in not a devolved matter for institutions, we have called upon our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paddy Nixon to lobby Universities UK to return to negotiations with UCU nationally."

Kevin added: "NUS-USI, QUBSU and UUSU presidents have drafted a joint letter to the vice-chancellors of Queens and UU asking them to lobby UUK on this issue which we will be sending today."

University of Ulsters Student Union have said they support UCU with the upcoming action

A strike rally has been scheduled for Thursday at 11am at Queen's Univeristy.

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