Pensions shake-up sparks strike

Members of UCU striking at Blackpool and the Fylde College Bispham campus

Members of UCU striking at Blackpool and the Fylde College Bispham campus

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FORTY lecturers at Blackpool and The Fylde college were striking over a pensions dispute yesterday.

The members of the University and College Union failed to turn up for work, though some picketed outside the college’s Bispham campus gates.

Blackpool and The Fylde’s director of human resources, Barbara Jones, said: “The college remained open and we did all we could to ensure minimal disruption for students.

“Discussions about the pension scheme are part of a wider Government review of public sector pensions. As an employer, we are sympathetic to the concerns of our employees and await the outcome of negotiations between the union and the Government.”

Strike action was called after the union held a national ballot in response to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme alterations. The strike was also supported by the National Union of Students.

Picketers at the campus handed out union leaflets titled ‘Hands Off Our Pensions’, which claim pensions are being attacked by Government proposals. The union is against the raising of members’ retirement age to 65, and claims lecturers will have to pay an extra £124 a month towards their pension as part of the deal.