TEACHING staff from the University of Glasgow formed a picket line today to protest against cuts to their pension and demand better pay.

At the university's main gate, members of the University and College Union (UCU) gathered this morning with signs and music to draw attention to their worsening working conditions.

Lecturers waved placards that read 'We're at breaking point' and 'A rotten retirement? Get in the bin' as masses gathered to voice their demands.

The actions started today and will continue until Friday.

As part of the nationwide higher education negotiations, protestors called on the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) for lower workload, higher pay, the closure of the gender pay gap, ethnic pay gap and disability pay gap and an end to contract casualisation and job insecurity.

They also demanded that Universities UK (UUK) doesn't lower their pensions and avoids future changes to their benefits and increasing member contributions.

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Vladimir Unkovski-Korica, Picket Supervisor said: "There is a proposed change to pensions, which, in the union's calculations, but even in the calculation of others, will take our pension down by a third.

"That can mean that if you were born in 1980 and you earn over £40,000 per year, you will lose something like £5,000 per year in your pension years."

Protestors spoke out against other problems, including the low wages and increased workload they have experienced.

The Central and East European studies lecturer added: "Our pays have been under inflation for well over a decade, possibly two decades.

"Our workloads are through the roof, there are more students and more work for less money.

"There is rampant casualisation in the sector, we are opposing that and the inequalities of the pay gap, where women get paid less than men.

"We are saying that the system looks broken and we need change."

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times: This is not the first action the teaching staff has taken against regulators.

Rhys Machold, International Studies lecturer and member of the University and College Union said: "This is my third time on strike here, even though I have only been working here for three years.

"That should tell you something about the nature of what we are up against."

Also on her third strike in the few years she has been at the University of Glasgow is Lindsay Middleton, a Graduate Teaching Assistant.

She said: "Sadly, the system doesn't seem to be improving much, in the time that I have been here.

"We don't want to strike, we like teaching our students, but conditions aren't improving, so that's why we are here.

"I am about to finish my PhD and go on to try and get a full-time contract, but they will be fixed-term six months contracts and there are no permanent jobs to go into."

The 26-years-old added that conditions also discourage students from pursuing academia as a career.

The Students' Representative Council is also supportive of the strike.

Rhys Machold, from Toronto, Canada added: "Every time I have gone on strikes here in Glasgow, and in general, I think it is really important to articulate what we are up against to the students.

"Because it affects the quality of the education they are receiving, I always try to explain to my students the details of what this means and what it means for them as students.

"In the past and this year also, I have gotten a lot of support from them, which I really appreciate."

Raj Jethwa, UCEA’s Chief Executive said: “We clearly regret any disruption, especially to students, caused by UCU’s industrial action.

"We anticipate the full impact will be mixed across the 54 higher education institutions where action has been called, as the level of UCU membership varies greatly between both institution and department.

"We are disappointed that UCU is encouraging its members to take action which will impact on students who have endured so many recent disruptions.

“While early reports from Higher Education institutions are of low levels of disruption to teaching it does of course take time for these large organisations to find out exactly how many scheduled classes have not taken place on a given day.

"While some HE institutions cannot provide details at this time, others do not have any teaching scheduled. Each HE institution is of course fully focused on managing this period of disruption as best they can for their students.

“UCU members in these 54 institutions, and others, can be asked to strike again in the new year by the UCU’s HE Committee. But this action will cause damage to both union members and to students in what is an unrealistic attempt to force all 146 employers to re-open the concluded 2021-22 national pay round and improve on an outcome that is, for most of these institutions, already at the very limit of what is affordable.

"We respect employees’ right to take lawful industrial action but it is unrealistic and misleading to their members for UCU to ask them to lose 3 days’ pay in pursuit of an unrealistic 7% pay demand at just over one third of the HEIs in the collective pay arrangements.”

A University of Glasgow spokesperson said: “The University regrets that UCU is proceeding with industrial action on 1-3 December.  We are still assessing the extent of the strike but it appears the large majority of staff are continuing to work normally; many students are revising for exams which begin next week. 

"Graduations are progressing and student-facing services on campus are functioning as normal.

“We are doing everything we can to minimise disruption to students during the three-day strike.  We do not expect the subsequent “Action Short of a Strike” announced by the UCU to have any material impact on students or on the University’s operations.”

A UUK spokesperson said: "We’re very disappointed that industrial action is taking place over USS pensions. The union may not like the legal and regulatory constraints pensions operate under in this country, but students and other staff shouldn’t have to suffer as a result.

"Universities are well prepared to mitigate the impact of any industrial action on students’ learning and minimise disruption for those staff choosing not to take part. 

"Going on strike won’t alter the fact that The USS Trustee, which runs the scheme, has decided that much more money is needed or pension benefits built up in the future must change. Staff will still receive good pensions at affordable contributions - USS will remain one of the most attractive pension schemes in the country."