UEA is a social good, and Norwich demands respect for its lecturers'

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We, the undersigned residents of Norwich value the social good the University of East Anglia provides us, and therefore, we are in full support of its lectures’ decision to join the nationwide strike, and demand the planned changes to pensions to be dropped.

We value the educators, and the university as a public good. The pursuit of knowledge, and the endeavour to understand, and improve our world is not given value by the corporation of our university; and the marketisation of learning, and its teaching.

We feel there is no justification, or denial, that can defend the harm that the proposed switch to the Lecturers’ pension scheme will cause.  Moving from a guaranteed defined retirement income to a riskier defined contributions scheme, which is dependent on the stock market, will risk upto a £200,000, or £10,000 a year loss in retirement income. This will leave valued professionals unable to afford their retirement. Especially, if they need special considerations, like, early retirement due to illness.

We respect, the Vice Chancellor, David Richardson’s decision to place the saved lecturers’ salaries into a hardship fund, however we are concerned that this is the first time this has happened, even though this has been requested by the University and College Union on previous strike actions.

We ask the Vice Chancellor to go further and recognise that there is not widespread consensus that these changes to pensions are necessary. Loughborough, Glasgow, Warwick, Birkbeck, Goldsmiths, Strathclyde, and London school of tropical hygiene and medicine have all resumed talks with unions; and his contemporary at the University of  Essex has stated, “sometimes principles cost money”, in rejection of the market rationale you are defending.

We expect that the University of East Anglia to reassess this situation, and instead support its educators, in recognition of the service they provide to students. It this service that we as Norwich residents value, as it is a invaluable part of our fine city.

In Solidarity,

From a unified city.

Co-produced by Momentum Norwich.