Universities accused of ‘dirty tricks’ in pay dispute

Trade
unions are claiming that universities are threatening to withhold pension
payouts to dependants of striking staff, should they die on the picket line.

According
to the Association of University Teachers (AUT), the unprecedented and bizarre
threat is part of a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign to intimidate strikers who who are
protesting over changes to pay structures.

Today
is the only nationwide day of strike action in week of walkouts which began on
Monday.

“The
threat to withhold death-in-service payments to families and dependants of
staff is appalling, particularly as relatives would, in many cases, stand to
lose more than £100,000,” said Bill Trythall, AUT executive committee trustee
and pensions expert.

Cambridge
University is reportedly one of the institutions involved, having sent a mass
e-mail to staff. The AUT is already incensed by Oxford University’s recent ban
on it recruiting new members at the university for the duration of the
strike. 

The
National Union of Students launched simultaneous action over the proposed
introduction of variable top-up fees.

By
Roisin Woolnough

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