Ben Lake MP and Elin Jones AM supports UCU strike

On 27 February, staff members at Aberystwyth University will be marching from Penglais Hill to the Morlan Centre where they will then hold a rally as part of the UCU pensions strike. Although unable to attend the rally, Ben Lake MP and Elin Jones AM have shown their full support to teaching and non-teaching members of staff in their campaign to protect their pensions.


In a statement about the pensions strike, Ben Lake MP said:

"This strike and dispute is not only about pensions - at the heart of it is the deepening marketisation of higher education. On one level, it is whether or not the privatisation of the higher education sector is allowed to progress, whether we allow yet another step away from the belief that higher education is a public good.

"As teaching and non-teaching staff, you deserve good pensions and working conditions, and any attack on those conditions is also an attack on the quality of education that students receive. Downgrading the pension scheme is not only a betrayal of the good faith and dedication of university staff, but it will also undermine the sustainability and quality of higher education in the future, hindering our ability to recruit and retain such committed staff for future generations. 

"What we now need is for Universities UK to return to the negotiating table. They need to justify their claims that the alleged deficit is unmanageable or unaffordable under the current scheme, as there is a wealth of evidence to the contrary. They desperately need to abandon this position and engage constructively with the UCU by committing to meaningful negotiations. Furthermore, as I, and many others have already written to the Universities Minister, the UK Government must review the situation, and intervene to ensure that this dispute is resolved as a matter of urgency."

Elin Jones AM said:

"I’m proud to be a representative for Ceredigion, a friend to staff and students, and a graduate of Aberystwyth University. Today, you are clearly saying to the University sector, and to Governments in Wales and Westminster, that the staff voice must be heard.

"Our University has been a world leader, and still is a leading University in Wales. The work of the staff here at Aberystwyth University is to be celebrated, not penalised.

"Therefore, it is not fair that lecturers are set to have the worst pensions in the education sector and that your final pensions would depend on how the stock market performs and not on your contributions. It’s no shock that there is a recruitment and retention crisis as staff seek better financial security elsewhere.

"We cannot allow the politics of this time to erode the hard fought for pension rights, won by your predecessors. Your hard won Pension rights are rightly being defended today, and I am proud to support you."

This week, the Plaid Cymru group in the National Assembly for Wales have called for a statement of opinion:

  • Recognising the social and economic importance of attracting and retaining talented academic staff in Wales’s universities.
  • Stating that we believe all university staff should have access to a secure and decent pension.
  • Noting, with concern, that Universities UK’s proposal to close the defined benefit portion of the Universities Superannuation Scheme to all future services will reduce pension security for academic staff in many universities, making careers in those institutions less attractive.
  • Calling on the UK Government to review the situation and urge Universities UK to work with the University and College Union to find a better solution.

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