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Events

Acclaimed author cancels university appearance over pensions row

Prize-winning author Jon McGregor has pulled out of an appearance at the University of East Anglia due to the ongoing dispute over pensions.

 

The author was due to appear at the UEA Spring Literary Festival on Wednesday (7 March), but has said that he will not cross the picket line. Instead, he will headline an evening of readings at the Students’ Union in support of striking staff.

 

The ‘Writers for the Strike’ event will run from 5 – 7pm on Wednesday and will feature readings from leading authors including Sarah Perry and Megan Bradbury, as well as inputs from staff and students. It forms part of the ‘Alternative University’ – a programme of teach-ins and discussions organised by members of the University and College Union (UCU) taking strike action.

 

Author Jon McGregor said: ‘Although I had been very much looking forward to reading at the UEA Spring 2018 Literary Festival, I will not be able to do so while strike action in defence of university staff pensions is ongoing. I fully support the UCU action, and – in common with a number of university vice-chancellors, government ministers, and the opinion pages of the Financial Times – call on Universities UK to return to meaningful negotiations immediately to avoid any further disruption not just to students but to the role universities have to play in the wider cultural life.

‘I have never crossed a picket line in my life, and am not about to start now. Instead, I will be joining staff, students, and writers for an evening of readings and discussion as part of the Alternative University being put on by the Student Union.’

 

The pension dispute centres on proposals to end the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) – a move which UCU says would leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement than under the current set-up.

 

In the recent strike ballot UCU members overwhelmingly backed industrial action. Locally, 87% of UCU members at UEA who voted backed strike action on a turnout of 66%.

 

UCU UEA branch spokesperson Ben Little said: ‘We really appreciate the support of all the writers and students who are making Wednesday’s ‘Writers for the Strike’ event possible. Strike action is always a last resort, but the threat to our pensions is so serious we have been left with no choice. We hope the university will seek to minimise any further disruption to students by ensuring that Universities UK commits to proper negotiations to resolve this dispute.’

 

Living wage at UEA – event

Living Wage Rally – Thursday 16th April 2015, 13:00, the Square

Unison at UEA will be hosting a Living Wage rally to show the Vice Chancellor and members of the executive team that there is  support on campus for the Living Wage to be introduced. This will feature music from Kyle Schewitz and Matilda Carter and speeches from Norwich South Labour candidate Clive Lewis, and UUEAS Campaigns and Democracy Officer Chris Jarvis.

Staff and students please come along to show your support!

 

Defend Education campaign

UEA students’ union & the Defend Education UEA campaign have a number of events over the next few weeks:

January 21st  6.30pm – discussion on free education

January 28th 5.00-9.00pm – UEA World Café – campaign workshops & stalls

January 31st – March for free education

Pension meeting 12th November

Paul Bridge Head of HE at UCU will be at UEA on Wednesday 12th November 13.00 Lecture Theatre One.

An opportunity for UCU members to find out more about the dispute and ask questions.

 

31st October strike action at UEA

UCU members will be taking part in national strike action alongside colleagues from Unison & Unite to call for fair pay in HE.

 

There will be picket lines at the entrances from Earlham Road & Bluebell Road between 7.00 & 13.00.

 

Show support on Twitter #fairpayinhe

 

& follow the live blog herefairpay