University of Cambridge: Negotiate or Compensate

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We, the undersigned, are students from University of Cambridge standing in solidarity with the striking faculty and staff on our campus. We support striking staff and urge our Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope to:
- Publicly call for UUK to reopen negotiations on the strike. 

- Should the strike go ahead, we demand that the University commits to ensuring that all money saved on the wages of striking staff goes into a University of Cambridge Hardship Fund.

We believe that university staff have been pushed to take industrial action as a response to the pensions reform that Universities UK (UUK) has proposed, which would see a typical staff member losing between £60,000 and £200,000 over the course of their retirement. We believe that an excellent education can only be provided by staff with secure and reasonable working conditions. We stand in solidarity with our striking staff.

We understand this reform to be part of wider context that saw tuition fees go from £1000 when first introduced in 1998 to £9000 in 2012. We recognise this attack on staff's pensions as the latest step in the marketisation of our universities. We demand the money saved from wages to be put into a hardship fund aimed at supporting marketisation's biggest victims: working-class and international students. We hold Vice-Chancellors and Principals accountable for their unwillingness to negotiate.

We believe that students should not face financial pressure to pay for an education that we do not receive or cannot receive in good conscience. UCU has stated that they are willing to reopen negotiations. It is clear that if Universities UK reopens negotiations with the UCU and retains a decent defined benefit scheme, this strike and the disruption that results from it can be averted. 

We urge Stephen Toope to help end this strike by speaking out against these pension changes, and so prevent disruption to our education.

Your sincerely,

The undersigned

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