These are the London unis where lecturers voted to strike

Most London unis’ staff are for striking over USS pension dispute


Results from the vote for strike action across the UK’s higher education sector came out today, November 5.

Most London unis’ staff voted for the strike over pension, while UCL will notably re-ballot for falling below the minimum turnout. There will be another set of results released later on the voting outcome for pay disputes.

The University and College Union (UCU), representing over 130,000 staff nationwide, called the result a “clear mandate” for strike action, which will take place before Christmas if employers don’t commit to these actions: addressing the scandal of the gender, ethnic, and disability pay gap, ending contract casualisation and rising job insecurity, tackling the rising workloads driving our members to breaking point, and increasing to all spine points on the national pay scale of £2,500.

In response to the £15bn funding shortfall in the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the union demanded “dignity at work and dignity in retirement” by calling for employers to stop cuts to USS and work to avoid future changes to benefits and increases in member contributions, and for the USS to issue a new evidence based valuation of the scheme.

Jo Grady, UCU’s General Secretary said: “Rather than waste any more time tinkering around the edges of a broken funding model or dictating to students what constitutes a valuable degree, the government would be much wiser to explore investing in a publicly funded higher education system.”

Staff at different unis involved in the action demanded for both or either of these disputes: the USS, pay, or both.

Here are the London uni’s stances and voting results over USS pensions:

Birkbeck College, U of L (Both pay & USS)

Turnout – 60.5 per cent

Voted Yes – 75 per cent

City, U of L (Both pay & USS)

Turnout – 48.6 per cent

Voted yes – 73.8 per cent

Goldsmiths, U of L (Both pay & USS)

Turnout – 69.4 per cent

Voted yes – 80.6 per cent

Imperial College London (USS only)

Turnout – 55.9 per cent

Voted yes – 71.7 per cent

KCL (Both pay & USS)

Turnout – 64.5 per cent

Voted yes – 81.8 per cent

LSE (Both pay & USS)

Turnout – 55.1 per cent

Voted yes – 89.1 per cent

Queen Mary, U of L (Both pay & USS)

Turnout – 46.4 per cent

Voted yes – 83.3 per cent

SOAS, U of L (Both pay & USS)

Turnout – 63.4 per cent

Voted yes – 90.8 per cent

UCL (Both pay & USS)

Turnout – 49.4 per cent

Voted yes – 77.90 per cent

While the National Union of Students has come out in support of strike action, some individual Students’ Unions around London have been more critical of the move.

UCL’s Students’ Union stated they will “not support potential upcoming nationwide strikes” and lobby academics to boycott strike ballots. They fear that after “two academic years […] affected by consistent national lockdowns, ” a strike would further “serve to damage the experience at UCL” and “seriously put into question the value for money of the UCL experience.”

KCLSU also revealed they will not support the UCU strike action – whilst they are “sympathetic to the cause,” they “believe strikes would only add to the significant damage students have already had to endure with two years of national lockdowns.” The President Zahra Syed added that she “personally experienced the disruption strikes twice” and “the prospect of students in their third year possibly completing their degree without a single year free from disruption is unimaginable.”

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