You can read 19 more articles this month
A LABOUR MP has cancelled a lecture she was due to give at the University of Manchester because she refuses to cross picket lines.
Lucy Powell was scheduled to deliver the address on Thursday February 22, the day that members of the University and College Union (UCU) launch a series of 14 strikes in defence of their pensions.
But the MP for Manchester Central cancelled her talk in solidarity with the lecturers’ struggle.
Her principled stand is in stark contrast to that of former MP Tristram Hunt, who crossed a picket line to deliver a lecture – ironically on Marx, Engels and the making of Marxism – four years ago today (Sat), as detailed by the Morning Star.
Employers’ organisation Universities UK (UUK), made up of highly paid vice-chancellors and principals from individual institutions, wants to abolish the element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme that guarantees a certain level of pension income in retirement.
UCU says this would leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement than under the current set-up.
Lecturers at 61 universities across Britain will be involved in the strike action against the proposal.
Ms Powell said: “I was due to give an annual lecture at the university on the day of the strike, but I have informed the university that I won’t be attending.
“I don’t cross picket lines and my attendance would send the wrong signal.
“I hope that Universities UK will get back round the table with the UCU to resolve this dispute.”
UCU members overwhelmingly supported industrial action in a recent ballot, with 88 per cent of members voting in favour on a turnout of 58 per cent.
At the University of Manchester, 90 per cent backed strikes on a 55 per cent turnout.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “We welcome Lucy Powell’s decision to cancel her appearance at the University of Manchester as a show of support for striking staff.
“This is yet another disruption to university life which could be avoided if the employers step back from their damaging proposals.
“It’s time Universities UK listened to the many voices urging them to commit to meaningful negotiations.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.