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UEA staff on strike over pensions

PUBLISHED: 09:20 22 March 2011

UCU strike at UEA today over pensions; photo Adrian Judd

UCU strike at UEA today over pensions; photo Adrian Judd

Archant Norfolk 2010

University staff in Norwich are on strike today over pensions.

Lecturers and other staff at the University of East Anglia (UEA) are among those at 63 UK universities taking industrial action over changes to their pension scheme.

The action, involving members of the University and College Union (UCU), is the first UK-wide university strike action for five years.

UEA has 500-plus UCU members, many of whom are expected to be on strike today in protest at changes to the university super-annuation scheme pension fund.

Staff will also be on strike on Thursday.

Dr Paul Grassby, spokesman for the UCU at UEA, said it was difficult to know at this early stage in the day how many staff would be on strike, but there are already three well-manned pickets in Earlham Road, Bluebell Road and near to North Park Avenue.

He said: “It’s about making members of staff that are in the pension scheme aware of what’s going on and getting them to think about the future.

“If the changes are made now they might affect people for decades and decades to come so it’s important that we get it right now.

“That’s why we want the employers to start talks and go to arbitration to make sure it’s absolutely right.”

Attempts by UCU to prevent the need for strike action failed after employers refused to meet with the union at the arbitration service, ACAS.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “The last thing our universities need is widespread disruption and strike action is always a last resort. But, employers must recognise the strength of feeling over pensions.”

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