University lecturers strike over pensions

University of Lincoln students have a day off lectures as staff and union members are protesting today to protect their future pensions.

University and College Union (UCU) members of staff are picketing various parts of the Brayford campus, including the main entrances and the new Law building.

Part of a national movement, staff are striking to defend their right to a fair pension (the Teacher’s Pension Scheme) and against the retirement age moving up to 65.

The government proposed to cut £852 million from the scheme, meaning lecturers would have to pay up to an extra £124 per month into their pensions.

The possible lower rate of inflation to measure pensions could also mean that once retired, lecturers would lose between £36,000 to £65,000 in total.

University of Lincoln lecturers are holding a peaceful protest, handing out flyers to passers-by and explaining their reasons for striking to boost awareness.

Senior Lecturer Professor Richard Keeble said: “There are plans to cut pensions and make lecturers work longer for reduced pension, so it can’t be right.

“It’s part of a government attack on education and the welfare system in general and that’s what we are standing up to.

“The cuts in higher education concern us and we feel that they are not necessary.

“Personally, I feel the cuts are not necessary because other alternative strategies could be taken. For instance, we spend £4 billion a year on a war in Afghanistan — we could save that.

“We are basically saying to our employers we do not find acceptable the plans to reduce our pension entitlement, that’s the message we want to get out.”

“Because I am standing here and speaking to people as they pass, I’d say 60% of people are supporting us. That’s a lot of support for our action,” he added.

A University of Lincoln spokesman said: “Nationally the UCU has called a strike today (March 24).

“The University has sought to ensure minimum disruption for students.”

For real-time updates of the national strike, visit UCU’s website.