University strikes: Opposition grows to proposed pensions deal

Agreement in bitter universities' pension dispute paves way for end of strike action

UCU members tell leadership to “throw out” UUK offer

It is hoped the deal - struck after a number of universities broke rank with UUK and criticised the decision to close the scheme - will see an end to widespread strikes which have rocked the higher education sector over the last three weeks.

However, this has now been rejected by UCU, with the union calling for "urgent talks with the universities' representatives to try and find a way to get this dispute resolved".

Over 7,000 people have signed an open letter calling on the union to "reconsider its position" on the transitional deal.

It follows widespread backlash against the provisional agreement, with protests occurring outside the UCU headquarters in north London, where senior members were due to discuss the deal early this morning.

Employers and union leaders have struck a deal on reforming United Kingdom university pensions, raising hopes that strike action which is into its fourth week could soon be suspended.

A third year PPEist at Wadham, Lucas Bertholdi-Saad, told Cherwell:"My dad's a lecturer, and a lot of my friends are postgrads. We consider the deal to be a huge betrayal of our sacrifice". We've bit the bullet, we should stay the course.

Protesters called on Sally Hunt, general secretary of UCU, to listen to them and to continue the strike.

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"So long as UCU are continuing the strikes, which they will do until UCU agree to the new deal which UUK propose, we'll continue to support the strikes and we'll continue the occupation".

However, a meeting of union officials from branches nationwide resigned itself to reject the deal on the table, amid strong opposition from its members.

"The strike action for this week remains on and we will now make detailed preparations for strikes over the assessment and exam period".

As there will be further national talks and strike action tomorrow, Warwick UCU added that "it is as important as ever that we keep up our action to show our strength of feelings around not giving up on this dispute yet".

UCU said that the deal would be considered by its higher education committee and branch representatives on 13 March and, if they back the deal, strike action now under way at 65 universities would be suspended as of 14 March. Following that meeting, UUK "expect that UCU will suspend industrial action from and including Wednesday 14 March".

However, many union branches were quick to signal their dissatisfaction with the deal, using the hashtag #NoCapitulation on Twitter.

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