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The upcoming strikes

(197 Posts)
mrsrhodgilbert Tue 20-Feb-18 11:49:01

I have a dd in her third year at a university where there will be strike action for the next four weeks starting on Thursday. I've only been aware of this for a few days and I've seen nothing about it in the press. Dd doesn't yet know how it will affect her, she has one lecturer who covers her two modules this term and hasn't asked her if she will be striking. Literature from the university says they can ask their lecturers if they will be striking but the lecturer doesn't have to answer, so all a bit uncertain.

I'm just interested to know what your dc have been told if anything and what might happen re completing final modules without teaching and indeed if final exams could be cancelled. In that case what would happen?

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 20-Feb-18 11:59:15

I very much doubt exams would be cancelled. Usually, when lecturers strike, they try to make sure disruptions to students are minimised (and not all university teaching staff will be striking, anyway - it's a union thing and there will be some people not involved).

It depends a bit where she is, but frankly, what's likely is just they'll reschedule teaching. Which strikes me as stunningly pointless.

This has been fairly widely reported in the press, but it's not front-page news.

mrsrhodgilbert Tue 20-Feb-18 12:10:46

Hi, thanks for replying. I have done a bit of an internet trawl this morning and found a few articles about it, but as you say not front page news. I wonder when the media will really pick up on it. She's at Leeds and has experienced another strike where some teaching was being done off campus.

homebythesea Tue 20-Feb-18 12:23:22

DS whole department striking- he’s coming home for a long weekend —for free food and laundry—

mrsrhodgilbert Tue 20-Feb-18 12:27:49

Is he a final year student?

homebythesea Tue 20-Feb-18 12:34:51

NO - 2nd year

mrsrhodgilbert Tue 20-Feb-18 12:41:41

He might be raiding the fridge for more than one weekend. This strike is due to continue until the Easter break, in my daughters case anyway.

SoupyNorman Tue 20-Feb-18 12:45:18

Front page news today in the Times.

Our union has instructed us not to reschedule teaching. And I believe the next step will be an assessment and marking boycott - so no final exams, or indeed any exams, will take place this summer, unless of course the employers agree to resume negotiations.

homebythesea Tue 20-Feb-18 12:56:20

soupynorman serious non goady question here. What is to be negotiated? My understanding is that one pension fund is in deficit (as are many professional pension funds). What’s the end game- top up the pension fund? How? University lecturers are not the on,y professionals with final salary pensions which won’t actually pay out (DH included- he has cashed it in and reinvested)

TalkinPeace Tue 20-Feb-18 13:01:52

final salary pensions which won’t actually pay out (DH included- he has cashed it in and reinvested)
WOW - I hope he got SEVERAL bits of independent advice for that
because both as an employer and an employee in a DB scheme, DC is ALWAYS worse !!!!

mrsrhodgilbert Tue 20-Feb-18 13:15:20

Soupy if what you say actually happens where does that leave final year students and their degrees? Have you experienced this before? I've read that exams might happen later in the year or degrees could be awarded based on results to date.

TalkinPeace Tue 20-Feb-18 13:21:10

I killed this thread
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/3169701-Dd-scared-of-crossing-a-university-picket-line
by making the boring point that Pensions HAVE to be reformed.

It should have been done 20 years ago - with minimal pain for most.

It is being done now for quite a bit of pain for quite a few

Or it can be kicked down the road a bit further and cause crippling pain for today's students.

homebythesea Tue 20-Feb-18 13:36:50

Yes he was advised and he is in financial services. He no longer works for the firm whose fund it is/was and this pension was based on a salary that is a fraction of what he earns now. He judged that the likelihood of the many millions of deficit being made up was very low and at worst he could be no worse off putting the money elsewhere for a few years to grow

homebythesea Tue 20-Feb-18 13:41:36

The problem with striking is this: most often the aim of the strike is unlikely to be achieved, but its consequences are highly likely to be very damaging.

So to use as an example the most famous strike of our youth: the miners. The aim: to change a political ideology of a massively popular (at the time) government at the height of its powers. Not going to happen. The consequences: render the workforce into poverty relying on soup kitchens. Highly probable.

So in this case we have a grievance about pension provision, with uncertain solution proposals. The consequences for students however are considerable and entirely negative. So what’s the point?

SoupyNorman Tue 20-Feb-18 13:48:03

The valuation which shows the scheme in deficit is contested and based on highly pessimistic and frankly unrealistic prospects of all the universities in the scheme going bust simultaneously. It’s clear that Oxford and Cambridge colleges are driving this hardline stance - only 42% of unis wanted to go with this pessimistic valuation but that’s what UUK went with. And that 42% includes individual pxbridge colleges, which are being treated as the same as major redbrick universities.

The scheme has increased its assets by something like 12% over the past few years, and has enough to pay out pensions for 30 years without touching capital reserves.

The scheme is NOT in deficit in any meaningful sense - this is all about shifting risk to the individual employee so as to attract further inward investment for shiny new buildings on campus. Meanwhile the VCs slip off into the sunset, having cashed in their lucrative final salary pensions years ago.

SoupyNorman Tue 20-Feb-18 13:50:15

And the prospect for future generations of students, if this unjust gutting of academic pensions go ahead and academia becomes an even less secure, desirable and fairly rewarded career than it already is, is much more serious than one cohort having teaching and possibly exams disrupted.

TalkinPeace Tue 20-Feb-18 13:50:32

homeby
Ah yes, if it was an old historic one then that makes total sense. Watching people being tricked into moving out of their current LGPS makes my blood boil.

And I understand the ire of the lecturers - its being handled very very badly by grossly overpaid VCs
BUT
DB Pensions are dead in the water at current investment rates with a retirement age under 75 and contribution rates under 15% by employees.

TalkinPeace Tue 20-Feb-18 13:53:25

soupy
The valuation which shows the scheme in deficit is contested and based on highly pessimistic and frankly unrealistic prospects of all the universities in the scheme going bust simultaneously.
The valuation is the standard IFRS valuation method being applied to all DB schemes.
It is in deficit - as are they all, up and down the land and across the world.
Slagging off Oxbridge which I regularly do will not change investment returns and life expectancy.

SoupyNorman Tue 20-Feb-18 13:56:44

The union obtained an alternate valuation which showed a very different picture, Talkin. Are you an actuary?

SoupyNorman Tue 20-Feb-18 13:59:14

First, the scheme is not in deficit in the ordinarily meaning of the term. Second, there is no evidence that investment returns are too low for the scheme to be sustainable. Third, the scheme is sustainable as long as it remains open and continues into the future along with the universities it serves. Fourth, it is highly questionable that there is a deficit even in the narrow technical meaning in which the word is being used here.

From a professor emeritus of economics at Warwick. Full link here

mrsrhodgilbert Tue 20-Feb-18 14:00:43

Is anybody able to answer my questions about what's going to happen to the final year students who are hoping to graduate soon? Do they not get their degrees?

TalkinPeace Tue 20-Feb-18 14:02:53

Soupy
Emeritus means he no longer has to teach : he gets paid to pontificate.

And that article totally ignores IFRS - it is full of woolly "thought experiments"

SoupyNorman Tue 20-Feb-18 14:03:10

That depends on the universities, OP, and whether they will reopen negotiations or not. Your DD should consider writing to her VC to make her displeasure known, if she is unhappy at what is happening.

SoupyNorman Tue 20-Feb-18 14:06:00

Emeritus means he no longer has to teach : he gets paid to pontificate.

As opposed to denigrating DB pensions and industrial action to protect a decent retirement, like you’ve done across a number of threads.

Emeritus also means that he has reached a particular level of distinction in his academic career, regardless of your crass attempt to dismiss him.

homebythesea Tue 20-Feb-18 14:25:48

soupy could you please answer my genuine questions about what it is the striking academics want to achieve? “Protecting future retirements” is just too woolly. 1. How is this to be achieved and 2. how likely is it that it will?

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