University of Hertfordshire workers strike over Government cuts

STAFF at the University of Hertfordshire have gone on strike today (Thursday), in a row over Government cuts to higher education.

Workers have formed picket lines at both the uni’s de Havilland and College campuses today, in opposition to plans to raise the retirement age and increase pension contributions, as well as uncertainty over jobs.

But Jon Berry, the University of Hertfordshire’s secretary for the University and Colleges Union (UCU) which organised the strike, said the action over pensions and the job cuts “was just the tip of the iceberg,”

“The cause of the strike is about attacks on our pensions and a refusal by employers to engage us in discussions about our positions,” Mr Berry said.

“This is also about an 80 per cent cut to the teaching grant over the next four years. When we stopped people to tell them why we were striking, they understood that this is about cuts to the sector in general.

“We need this Government to commit to proper investment in properly trained professionals, not just following the cheap and cheerful model.”

Mr Berry said the turn out for the strike had been “extraordinary”, with 32 union members demonstrating outside the de Havilland campus in Mosquito Way, Hatfield

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“That represents a very significant percentage of our membership,” Mr Berry said. “What’s telling is it wasn’t just the likes of me here today. There were people who might normally never have envisioned themselves on a picket line. I think that gives you an indication of the depth of feeling.”