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Workers at De Montfort University were on strike and picketing outside every building on campus this morning, 31 October.
The co-ordinated strike involved Unison, UCU and Unite members. Strikers are angry that they have faced a real-term pay cut of 13% since 2008. That is on top of a further 3.2% take home pay cut due to an increase in pension contributions.
Changes imposed on lecturer’s pension schemes already mean that staff will have to pay higher pension contributions, work for up to 7 years longer and receive a lower pension.
This is all at a time when universities have more money than ever.
The strike was going well, with more pickets this time than in the last strike over pensions. Staff are also ‘working to contract’ as from 1 November until further notice in protest at the wage cuts.
Disgracefully, De Montfort Students’ Union voted against supporting the action. With student elections coming up we need to make sure NUS leaders at DMU are held to account for this.
This dispute is part of a wider fight for a decent university sector, where properly paid workers can deliver excellent free education to students. We need to unite with all those fighting for that vision.
That means university workers standing together. It means we are stronger when our students’ fight back too, as in 2010-11 when they occupied and took to the streets.
University workers should also link their action to firefighters who strike on 1 November from 6.30pm, and probation officers who are on strike on 5 November – this means visiting these picket lines with messages of support.
The People’s Assembly day of action on 5 November is also a good opportunity to build the campaign.