University lecturers don't live in the real world. Today's strike action proves it

Like many people who had to endure a state education in the 1980s, I lost many hours in the classroom thanks to teachers striking at the drop of a hat. Lessons were disrupted for hours on end. End of term reports were left unwritten. Parents lost out on income because they had to unexpectedly look after their children when they should have been at school. 

Now it's the turn of university lecturers in 64 universities - a mainly left wing bunch of academics who are divorced from reality. Some of them will be mathematicians, although their mathematical skills don't appear to extend to working out that if more is being withdrawn from a pension scheme than is being paid in, eventually there will be a day of reckoning. 

The proposed changes to lecturers' pensions are changes that companies in the private sector made many years ago. The move from defined benefits to defined contributions is essential if you don't want the scheme to go bust. Under the proposed changes, employers will still contribute a generous 18 per cent of lecturers' salaries. If lecturers want more money in their retirement, then they are going to have to contribute more. 

But I doubt that the simple financial realities of life with resonate with those striking today. Instead, students who are already paying their university over £9,000 a year in fees, will lose out, and the chances are they will not receive any compensation. They should, though. Universities will not have to pay the salaries of striking lecturers. They should use that money to reduce the fees of those students who are missing out on lectures and are not getting their work marked, especially as we move closer to the exam season. 

What Universities UK should not do is give in to the unreasonable demands of lecturers. If they do, eventually the Universities Superannuation Scheme will go belly up affecting all those who have made contributions. 

It's time for those striking lecturers to show some professionalism, face up to reality, and join the real world.  

 

Photo Credit: Roger Blackwell

Showing 9 reactions

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  • commented 2018-02-25 01:32:52 +0000
    You asked for what in your piece is inaccurate, Andrew Allison. Well, your entire premise: in fact, more is currently being paid in than is being withdrawn…
  • commented 2018-02-22 11:01:12 +0000
    “There is a £6 billion deficit. It can’t be ignored. " Gosh, it’s almost as if the prevailing economic system is failing…
  • commented 2018-02-22 10:56:27 +0000
    The last comment was directed at Eric Turnip.
  • commented 2018-02-22 10:54:17 +0000
    Someone else who could do with learning some manners. There is a £6 billion deficit. It can’t be ignored.
    http ://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/workers-retirement-age-80-global-pensions-time-bomb-rise-400-trillion-a7758051.html
  • commented 2018-02-22 10:44:37 +0000
    Your appeal to the so-called “real world” is simply an instruction to abandon all agency, all hope, all willingness to fight for a better world, and to accept the status quo however immiserating that may be. Your article is entirely blind to the existence of actual well-understood power structures and the injustices and indignities they produce. “Wake up and live in the real world” is nothing more than a chuckleheaded truism of the sort dispensed by pub bores who claim to have attended the University Of Life: disgraceful poverty of ambition that pisses on the human soul and says – “don’t even try”.

    “If more is being withdrawn from a pension scheme than is being paid in, eventually there will be a day of reckoning”. This is facile. Where is the interrogation of the dominant structures, interests and ideologies that allow this situation to exist? Why have you not made even a token effort to imagine an incrementally better situation for these workers, who no doubt don’t actually want to go without a day’s pay, but who are doing so because withdrawing their labour is the only effective weapon they have against an economic system that is fundamentally and deliberately rigged against them?

    The “reality” you expect people to face up to is (for some) completely unsustainable, and (for most) about as appetizing as a dog turd. Libertarianism is a busted flush, a howling void of mediocrity, and a profoundly sad hobby for grown men to indulge in. Capitalism has existed for only a tiny fraction of human history, and if we evade armageddon will almost inevitably be superceded by something better just as feudalism was before it. The transition may not be pretty and I certainly would not feel very secure choosing the side that you have, armed as you are with little more than an Ayn Rand novel and a vape rig.
  • commented 2018-02-22 10:39:15 +0000
    Are you saying that the pension fund cannot continue to pay final salary pension commitments for at least forty years without even touching the capital in the fund, but just by using current contributions, or are you a liar?
  • commented 2018-02-22 10:11:04 +0000
    Do you call your comment analysis? It’s just another left wing rant. You can and must do better. Come on, tell me what it is I’ve said that’s inaccurate, rather than using ad hominems. I’m sure you can.
  • commented 2018-02-22 10:11:02 +0000
    Do you call your comment analysis? It’s just another left wing rant. You can and must do better. Come on, tell me what it is I’ve said that’s inaccurate, rather than using ad hominems. I’m sure you can.
  • commented 2018-02-22 10:00:10 +0000
    This is infantile and embarrassing and doesn’t even qualify as analysis. Your libertarian concept of “freedom” apparently means nothing more than the freedom for employers to exploit workers, and the freedom for said workers to either put up with it or die in the dirt. Stick to writing about vaping, lads