Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has said University managements should encourage their representative body to negotiate with the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) to resolve the pension dispute.
Speaking as she met striking lecturers on the picket line at University of Ulster Magee on Friday morning
she said “Sinn Féin support the right of UCU and all workers to take action, including strike action, to defend their terms & conditions of employment.
“The changes being proposed by Universities UK would have a significant impact on the future pension of many academics, with this being the third time the USS pension scheme conditions have been revised since 2011.
“While recognising universities have a responsibility in managing their finances to ensure the delivery of courses and to meet the demands of investing in teaching and research, staff remain the most important asset of any institution. It is important that they have fair and consistent terms and conditions of employment.
“Sinn Féin has written to the local University managements and asked that they adopt a position of encouraging Universities UK to reopen negotiations with UCU with a view to finding a way forward which gives security to staff on their future pension.
“The strike action this week and over the next four weeks, will obviously cause disruption for students and staff alike, finding a way to avoid this through negotiating a resolution which is satisfactory to all parties would be the best outcome for everyone.”