Biggest Teachers’ Strike In History Continues In Britain, West Virginia Teachers Get Raise
University teachers from 61 different universities are on strike in an effort to prevent severe pension cuts. The strikes effect an estimated 1 million students across the U.K.
The U.K. teachers’ strike has been the largest in the history of modern education with staff from up to 61 different universities across the country taking action. University staff, lecturers and students have organized picket rallies, occupations and protests across all major cities in the country as they aim to halt severe pensions strikes and bring university administration to the negotiation table.
The dispute started after the Universities UK (UUK), which represents Universities across the U.K., proposed to changes to the income amount that teachers would receive after retirement. The changes would eliminate the guaranteed income that teachers would receive post-retirement. The changes effectively leave the teaching staff and lecturers on average £10 000 worse off each year post retirement with a total potential loss at £200,000.
Additional cuts to retirement benefits are proposed based on when teachers first started. The UUK has explained that the reasoning behind the cuts is to attempt to tackle the existing financial deficit which is over £6.1 billion. The size and the valuation of the universities’ debt is disputed by the UCU and individual academics who noted a number of irregularities in the UUK’s claims. The chief executive of the UUK’s pension received a raise of £82,000 this year, further angering protesting teachers.
The National Union of Students backed the teachers strike and called upon its students to support the teachers and join them in picket lines and protests. In a surprising development numerous individual university administration’s have broken ranks with the UUK and expressed support for further negotiation.
A Twitter exchange between the teachers union and the UUK resulted in an agreement to meet for a new round of talks.
— Universities UK (@UniversitiesUK) March 5, 2018
In similar news, teachers in West Virginia went on a strike for nine consecutive school days to demand an increase in wages. West Virginia ranks 48th in teachers’ salaries according to the National Education Association.
The West Virginia strike ended late Tuesday when teachers got what they wanted a five percent pay raise. The West Virginia Governor signed the bill authorizing the raise and said it was cause to celebrate.
We’ve got cause to celebrate in West Virginia today. I’ve long said education should be our centerpiece — today we were able to showcase that commitment to everyone watching across the nation. pic.twitter.com/G6TzYZv7TH
— Governor Jim Justice (@WVGovernor) March 6, 2018