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UEA staff to strike over pensions dispute

PUBLISHED: 08:42 06 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:42 06 November 2019

Union members at the University of East Anglia (UEA) are set to strike later this month in a dispute over pensions. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Union members at the University of East Anglia (UEA) are set to strike later this month in a dispute over pensions. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Staff at a Norfolk university are set to strike this month in a dispute over pensions.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) will walk out between November 25 and December 4 following a vote in favour of industrial action.

Two ballots were held by the UCU last week, with 79pc of members backing action over changes to pensions and 74pc supporting a strike over pay and working conditions.

UEA members backed the first ballot, while elsewhere in the region staff at the Universities of Essex and Cambridge backed action over both disputes.

In total the strike will affect some 60 UK universities - and up to half a million students.

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UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: "The first wave of strikes will hit universities later this month unless the employers start talking to us seriously about how they are going to deal with rising pension costs and declining pay and conditions.

"Universities can be in no doubt about the strength of feeling on these issues."

As well as the eight strike days from November 25, union members will begin other forms of industrial action when they return to work.

This will include working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues, and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.

A UEA spokesman said: "The pay award UEA made in August represents a £3m investment in the university's staff. The increased pension contributions that UEA is making also cost an additional £3m a year and means UEA's expenditure on staff pay and pensions has increased by £6m a year. There is no detriment to the USS pension benefits to scheme members.

"UEA supports Universities UK's openness to talks with UCU to explore how the dispute can be resolved without industrial action, which we believe will be damaging for both university staff and students."

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