Derry Trades Union Council Chair, Liam Gallagher, has called on the public to support an ongoing lecturers’ strike at Magee College, describing picketing teachers as leaders in the drive to improve the skills base of the North’s workforce.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) have mounted rolling industrial action over Universities UK’s (UUK) decision to move their pension pots from a ‘defined benefit scheme’ to a ‘defined contribution scheme’, which, they say, will leave them out of pocket.
Mr. Gallagher said: “This is happening at a time when university bosses are receiving remuneration over and above what any other Executives in the public sector are receiving but it also speaks volumes about the government’s commitment to higher education.
“We are constantly being told that our economy needs more skills and innovation and yet the people who are at the coalface with the expertise to deliver those skills are being constantly downgraded.
“Over the last seven years university staff have had to accept below-inflation pay rises and now they are being told that the pensions that they have contributed to will be further cut by almost 10 per cent.”
Local People Before Profit spokesperson Eamonn McCann has also backed the strike.
He said: “Contributory pensions have been under attack across industry. University chiefs have now aligned themselves with the most reactionary elements in the private sector.”