So, I guess it’s that time of year again. I remember sitting down to pen a very similar letter around a very similar date last year.
Several weeks ago now the University and College Union (UCU) held a ballot to decide what to do. 80% of those who voted were in favour of taking action and there is clear support across universities for the boycott.
The changes proposed will mean significantly reduced benefits, in some cases as much as £12,000 a year. There is real anger that the University employers are seeking to end pension schemes that were signed up to in good faith by staff.
The cuts to the pensions are unfair but they are also unnecessary. The projections of a deficit are strongly contested by UCU’s financial experts who advise that the scheme is actually in very good financial health. Since 2011 the pension fund’s investments have grown by £8bn and the returns on these investments have outperformed average earnings and inflation.
This breakdown is the latest in a long line of attacks against the staff at this and other universities.
The Queen’s Students Union has once again failed to articulate any kind of support for the staff who are the bread and butter of our university.
Furthermore, they have even failed to alert students to the boycott and to offer advice for those who may be worried about their own educational prospects or any guidance for those who wish to show support to staff.
I feel saddened by the Student’s Union disinterested and uncaring attitude, it shames me to be associated with them.