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The University and College Union at The University of St Andrews

What strike action has achieved

From the St Andrews UCU branch committee:

At the last USS JNC on 23 January the UUK proposals to move to a defined-contribution scheme were forced through. At that time UCU had an overwhelming mandate for industrial action. UUK did not respond to the possibility of action. But after the first 14 days of strike action UCU have achieved large concessions from the employer and a radical change in their attitude:

·         UUK have moved from £0 to £42,000 as a defined benefit cap;

·         They have recognised the need for a new valuation on a basis agreed with UCU;

·         Numerous Principals and Vice-Chancellors have publicly called for a solution that preserves meaningful defined benefits and accepts increased employer contributions;

·         St Andrews has moved from recommending an end to defined benefits to saying it would have found the ACAS proposals acceptable.

Next phase of action

It was not just the threat of strike action but the strike action itself that achieved this progress. To press on and achieve an improved offer, we need to make the next phase of action even stronger. UCU has called for a further set of strike days focused on teaching and assessment. The action will be co-ordinated across the UK, and details are likely to be announced next week.

A local meeting was held on Wednesday 21st March and discussions were held as to the next phase of action. The outcomes will be discussed with UCU HQ before we publish our local plans.

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