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UK Lecturers Embark On Strike Over Poor Salary, Others

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University lecturers in the United Kingdom have embarked on industrial action to demand a better salary, an improved pension scheme and other issues.

Naija News gathered that the lecturers embarked on the 10-day strike on Monday, February 14 and will spread across three weeks.

The strike in the UK begins the same day the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria embarked on a one-month warning strike over the Nigerian government’s failure to meet its demands.

The first week of the strike in the UK, which would address pension-related issues, is billed to hold in 44 varsities across the UK between February 14 to 18.

This would be followed by a two-day march scheduled for February 21 and 22 across 68 institutions over pensions, pay, and working conditions and in the third week, about 63 institutions will embark on a three-day strike from February 28 to March 2.

The last day of the industrial action is expected to hold simultaneously with a strike also declared by some students across the UK’s most-populated institutions such as the Open University, University College London, and the University of Manchester.

Lecturers’ Demands

It was learned that the University and College Union (UCU), the body representing varsity staff across the UK, is asking the government for a £2,500 pay increase in salary for its members.

Other demands also include an end to “pay injustice” and zero-hours contracts as well as action to tackle “unmanageable workloads”.

On pension, it is understood that the union and the UK government had been in a lingering face-off for over a decade.

Other Causes of Strike

The latest twist over the issue was said to have been triggered by concerns on the valuation of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the pension scheme used for academic staff in varsities.

The UCU had argued that the valuation of the scheme was “flawed” since it took effect at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic “when global markets were crashing”.

The union also said sustaining the new arrangement would take a toll on its members’ guaranteed retirement income by 35%.

According to the UCU, more than a million students may be affected by the latest round of strikes.

Ige Olugbenga is a fine-grained journalist. He loves the smell of a good lead and has a penchant for finding out something nobody else knows.