Signatures for UCU Open Letter to Stuart Croft: USS Pensions Dispute
Dear Vice-Chancellor, dear Stuart,

We the undersigned share your grave concerns regarding the proposed reforms to the USS pension. We write to express concern with recent University communications about how the strike will be managed; and to ask that you continue to stand with us until a fair and guaranteed pension is secured.

We are sincerely grateful for your extraordinarily outspoken public support of the need for USS to retain a meaningful defined benefit section and your continued lobbying of the UUK to that effect. We also deeply appreciate your well-reasoned calls for arbitration as we too are concerned about the potentially negative effects that strikes will have on students whose studies will be disrupted; and on the implications of the USS changes on the university’s ability to attract and retain academic staff, especially international academics who have already suffered in the aftermath of Brexit and rising racism. If stable, secure pensions are withdrawn, many academics may consider going elsewhere, and future generations may not apply.

We are concerned that your public support has now been contradicted with measures announced by the University of Warwick: particularly the announcement that you expect all staff to reschedule classes and the announced deduction of an additional 25% of salary for action short of strike, which implies that staff are normally expected to work 1/3 over their remuneration. While we welcome your announcement that you are withdrawing the 25%, deduction so long as “the contract is being performed,” this remains meaningless so long as the university continues to demand that striking staff reschedule lectures and seminars. We are also naturally concerned, particularly about the legal coherence, of management's decision to deduct 1/260th of pay, rather than 1/365th, as has been outlined in a separate letter from academics within Warwick's School of Law. A final major legal concern is that current university advice to international students requires them to choose between respecting a legitimate picket-line, established as part of democratic protest, and placing their attendance record at risk.

Whilst we want nothing more than to continue our work in research, teaching our students, and engaging with the public, given the UUK’s continued refusal to negotiate or engage with the UCU’s position, we have had no choice but to resort to industrial action. Given our shared goals and concerns, we write to request that you continue your stance of principled, moral support for our collective grievance against UUK decision makers. Specifically, we would like to ask you to consider the following:

- To speak out in favour of the legitimacy of our industrial action and wear a purple square to show your support.
- To donate salary deductions of staff to the student hardship fund
- To reduce the impact of strike participation for sessional teachers, by mandating a just and proportional deduction of wages
- To withdraw the threat of pay deductions where staff do not reorganise the provision of learning opportunities.
- To support us on the picket lines
- To reduce the impact of strike participation on individuals, through supporting the reorganisation of probation and promotion meetings, as well as any mandatory training.
- Ensure that international students are not forced to choose between democratic participation in protest and monitoring points, and can be excused from absence if they choose not to cross picket lines.

Following this letter, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further, in person.

Sincerely,

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