Striker’s message to University employers “You have ruined everything.”

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St Andrews is one of 44 universities involved in the first week of a 10 day strike by staff over cuts to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme, which the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) has said would reduce the guaranteed retirement income of a typical member by 35%.

The strikers have widespread support amongst students.

Henry Stead, a Classics lecturer at St Andrews University, said that student support was “hugely important” for staff, adding that students had brought cakes and biscuits to the picket to boost morale.

“We hate how these issues are impacting our students. So, it’s great to know that they understand and even better, that they are standing with us. They were bringing us biscuits and cakes – they were organised,” he added.

“They know exactly what’s going on and are behaving like politically engaged citizens. It’s so nice to see. If the student support wasn’t there, I think many colleagues would find it really hard.”

Some Classics students at St Andrews were holding placards that read “Honk, haec, hic” – a play on words of “hic, haec, hoc” from Latin rote learning. Dr Stead’s sign read “Perdidistis omnia”, which he said is from “the Roman poem by Catullus – it means ‘You have ruined everything’” (see picture).

A second week of strike action starting on the 22nd February is planned and will involve 68 institutions across the UK.

In a briefing to students, Professor Lorna Milne, Proctor and Senior Vice-Principal, said:

“You may be aware that a series of national strike days and action short of a strike in Higher Education are scheduled to take place in February and March. The action has been called by the trades union which represents some academic, professional and managerial staff at St Andrews and other universities across the UK, the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU).

The reason is a protest at planned changes to the national pension scheme, the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). A total of 61 universities across the UK are affected by this action.

In St Andrews, we care deeply about our students, as we do our staff, and it is our hope that our colleagues who decide to take part in this national action are able to exercise their rights in ways which minimise any disruption to you, our students.”

Click here for the full  briefing statement

St Andrews QV (Qui Vive) is an independent not-for-profit, non-political platform for news and debates about issues that are important to the Town. It exists to hold decision makers and public services to account while its editorial policy is to accommodate all shades of opinion from all parts of the community, prioritising evidence-based arguments. St Andrews QV is a member of the Independent Community News Network and is committed to the Community Journalism Charter

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