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Pensions dispute comes to the Scottish Parliament as UCU holds rally

7 March 2018

Politicians, university staff and students will be among the speakers at a rally at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow (Thursday) at 12:45pm as part of the current strike action in Scottish universities over pensions.

Members of the UCU in 10 Scottish universities are taking 14 days of strike action in defence of cuts to the Universities Superannuation Scheme. Tomorrow's rally coincides with the ninth day of escalating strikes that began on 22 February. Staff are due to be on strike all next week (12-16 March).
Speakers at the rally on the concourse in front of the Scottish Parliament include:

  • Mary Senior, UCU Scotland official
  • Helen Martin, assistant secretary at the STUC
  • Jodie Waite, vice-president education, National Union of Students Scotland
  • Ann Henderson, the new rector of Edinburgh University
  • EIS president Nicola Fisher
  • Gillian Martin MSP from the SNP
  • Iain Gray MSP, Scottish Labour education spokesperson
  • Ross Greer MSP, Scottish Greens education spokesperson
  • Willie Rennie MSP, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats

After the rally a delegation of UCU members will meet with the minister for further education, higher education and science, Shirley-Anne Somerville.
Mary Senior will say: 'It is fitting on International Women's Day to acknowledge that proposals to cut pensions will affect all staff, but they will hit those in the pension scheme on the lowest incomes most. And all too often that means they will affect women most harshly.
'We know that higher education has a significant gender pay gap with a woman academic earning, on average, £6,000 a year less than a male counterpart. Those women will have smaller pensions and the proposed cuts will hit them disproportionately hard.
'So far the principals of Glasgow, Aberdeen and Strathclyde universities have called for the dispute to be resolved and for a decent guaranteed pension for staff in retirement. With Edinburgh also calling for talks to resolve the dispute, this rally comes at a crucial time and both sides must work together to get things sorted.'