Aberdeen students have staged a sit-in protest after a university union dismissed a proposal for lecturers’ pensions.
Around 20 University of Aberdeen students occupied the senior management corridor at the administration building in Regent Walk yesterday in a show of solidarity with striking staff.
The University and College Union (UCU) and Universities UK (UUK) have been locked in talks over proposed pension reforms to address a reported deficit and rising benefit costs.
The proposals were considered by UCU’s higher education committee and branch representatives yesterday, but rejected after asking employees and employers to temporarily pay higher contributions to plug the deficit.
Lewis Macleod, communities officer at Aberdeen University Students’ Association, said: “This show of solidarity is critical – it is what we hope will win this dispute if it can be won – students and staff working together. The decisions made directly affect students and the quality of education received.
“We’re hoping the university will meet the demands of the occupation in order to best support students and staff at this time.
“Depending on the outcome, if the demands are not met, it is most likely that the occupation will continue.”
The association issued seven key demands for the university, some of which include: no docking of pay for any staff members taking action short of a strike, a commitment to resist any future pension cuts and to rule out compulsory redundancies, no staff to have to reschedule any work and no penalisation for any student for not crossing a picket line.
A University of Aberdeen spokesman said: “It is disappointing that the agreement facilitated by ACAS has been rejected by the UCU. “As a result, we understand the industrial action will not be called off.
“Our students’ learning experience and the welfare of our staff and students remain our number one priority, and we will continue to make every effort to minimise the impact of this action.
“We are engaged in dialogue with students who are currently protesting at the university office.”