The decision by York University management to dock 100% pay from staff taking part in the assessment boycott to defend USS is a fight for the whole union. Confirm you are participating in the industrial action and lose 100% salary! – This is precisely the type of threat to members that delegates voted at UCU’s special HE conference in Manchester would trigger a national response in the form of national strike action.
We now need to pull that trigger in the face of this escalation from York management. We have learned from last year’s 2-hour strikes that we must not leave members facing gung-ho managements to fight alone – it only encourages others to follow suit. UCU must now escalate, act as one, and call serious national strike action to win the USS dispute.
We are in a very strong position, our members have just returned a vote of 78% for strike action on our highest ever turnout. Clearly the Vice Chancellors are split: Managements such as Oxford, Warwick, Essex and Cambridge have started to break rank publically (Times Higher Education, 30 Oct 2014). A group of eminent statisticians and financial mathematicians also wrote to the Times Higher Education denouncing the pensions’ assumptions used by the employers as ‘inadequately justified’ and ‘unreasonably pessimistic and incoherent’.
Now is the time for us in UCU to follow through with our national strike mandate.