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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will be mathematicians, although their mathematical skills don't appear to extend to working out that if more is being withdrawn from a pension scheme than is being paid in, eventually there will be a day of reckoning.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

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