South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth was out on Monday to support the action being taken by members of the University and College Union (UCU) to stop cuts to their member’s pensions.

The local MSP joined union members and supporters at their picket line at the Crichton University Campus in Dumfries.

The union is asking for pension cuts to be revoked; and for employers to improve their pay offer and commit to meaningful agreements and action on casualisation, workload, and equality pay gaps. But employers are currently refusing to revoke pension cuts or to even acknowledge issues like casualisation.

Colin Smyth said: “Staff pay has fallen by 20 per cent after 12 years of below inflation pay offers and one third of academic staff are on insecure contracts.

“Whilst senior management and Chancellors at some of our universities are receiving huge pay increases, it is the workers on the ground who are seeing their benefits being removed.

“Some staff have contributed to their pension pot for decades but are now facing cuts, it’s time for employers to stop attacking staff pay and conditions.

“I fully support the action taken by UCU Scotland and all other staff members and trade unionists who are fighting to protect education and the terms and conditions of the staff who are so vital to our universities and colleges.

“This dispute has run on for far too wrong and it’s time that the Scottish Government intervened and made clear to University bosses that these attacks on staff terms and conditions need to stop

“There wasn’t a single person on the picket line who wanted to be there. Everyone would rather have been in the university teaching, but they feel they have no choice but to oppose those cuts.”

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