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I am writing to ask you to take strike action on 30 November, 2011 in support of your union.

We are now, at last, engaged in detailed discussions on the future of the Teachers Pension Scheme (TPS) and now have talks on the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). But in neither case has sufficient progress been made to enable us to call off the proposed strike action.

As I have written previously, UCU’s preference is to achieve a negotiated solution and we have invested substantial time in trying to achieve this in recent weeks.

Over USS, I and colleagues met the employers last week. While key issues for future discussion were identified and arrangements for future meetings agreed, until such time as real progress is made the current dispute, including our work to contract, must remain on.

Over TPS,  I have also been involved in detailed discussions with the government alongside other education unions following the improved general offer recently made by the government.

Our priority in both schemes is to do everything we can to defend both members’ existing benefits and also those of future pension fund members. That this is a challenge in the current climate will be obvious to anyone who watches the news, but like all those unions involved in talks, we are working hard to defend members’ interests.

Please therefore stand up for your pension rights by supporting your union on 30 November.  Our negotiating position will be strengthened immeasurably in the days after the day of action if we can show that the strike was well supported.

If you can, please show your support on local picket lines. You will find also a list of local events that have been planned by UCU and our sister trade unions here:

While our priority must be the interests of TPS and USS members, unions across the public sector will be taking action to defend pension rights in their own areas so please attend to show your support for others in the same position as ourselves.

I know that strike action is never an easy option for people who work in further and higher education, and nor should it be. Yet it is the failure of employers and government to negotiate properly over the past year which has brought us to this position.

That means that on 30 November, every UCU member in every institution will be asked to take action. It is because we know that taking action is a big dealt that you have my promise that I and my colleagues will do all we can in the days and weeks after 30 November to resolve the dispute and protect your pensions.

Thank you for your support.

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary

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