Lecturers set to walk out over pension changes

Reporter:

Garth ApThomas

HUNDREDS of lecturers are expected to strike in Wrexham today – but the likely impact on students is unclear.

Industrial action over pensions contributions has been called by the University and College Union and will affect Yale College and Glyndwr University.

Both have pledged to try to minimise disruption to people attending courses at the sites.

But a spokesman for Glyndwr admitted: “At this stage we can’t say for sure how students will be affected.

“The picture will obviously be clearer on the day itself.”

Yale branch secretary Bob Scholey said picket lines would be in place at the college’s sites at Grove Park and Bersham Road. He estimated about 150 members of staff would strike.

Mr Scholey said: “This is one-day action. The pensions changes would result in a second rate educational system, driving lecturers out of the profession.”

He claimed Government proposals would lead to UCU members paying higher pension contributions and having to work longer, adding: “In addition it would mean a reduced pension and rises which would be well below the rate of inflation.”

Steve Byrne, chairman of UCU at Glyndwr, stressed the action was not against students but designed to help protect high standards in the lecturing profession.

Glyndwr has about 170 UCU members and picket lines were being planned at the university’s sites on Mold Road and Regent Street.

A spokeswoman for Yale said the college has received notification from UCU that, following the result of a ballot of its members, the union intended industrial action.

Principal Paul Croke said: “We are in close communications with all staff and will do our utmost to minimise disruption to students.

“We plan for classes to run normally and our bus services, learning resource centre, refectory and learner support services will be unaffected.”

A spokesman for Glyndwr University said it was disappointed by the union’s decision to call the action.

He said: “This is a UK-wide dispute and one which can only be settled through negotiation between the unions and the Government. The university will endeavour to ensure any disruption to the students as a result of this industrial action is
minimised.”

See full story in the Leader

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