Unison have now balloted members in Higher Education who are part of the USS pension scheme for strike action over the proposed changes to the scheme. This is the same reason why UCU members are currently taking strike action at universities around the country.
Unison actually began a consultation over the proposed changes to the USS pension scheme on 13 February, and the consultation was due to run until 2 March. According to one member at the University of East Anglia (UEA) the consultation email wasn’t sent out until two days ago, suggesting that Unison’s leadership have been dragging their feet a little bit over this issue.
However, under pressure from the enormous show of strength by UCU in opposition to the pension scheme, and the strong desire among Unison members to support their UCU colleagues in actions, not just words, Unison balloted its members for strike action yesterday.
John, a university worker and Unison member whose pension is in the USS scheme said that he had voted for strike action. He is confident that Unison members will vote for strike action and that they’ll be out on strike alongside the UCU members very soon.
Broadening out the struggle to involve unity among workers from different unions is the best strategy for winning this fight. Ultimately, to guarantee decent living and working conditions for everyone in our society, we’ll need unity in action across all unions and sectors of the working class. Historically this has been the role of the general strike.
The battle over pensions is a vital one to win. It’s key to the general struggle against capitalism and the fight to guarantee workers’ rights far into the future.