Dear [insert name],
As you may be aware UCU (University and Collage Union) have voted to hold an assessment boycott due to a pensions dispute with the UUK. I’m writing to you to ask that you join and support the boycott.
The boycott isn’t an isolated incident; this action has been called as a result of the series of attacks on academia and the slow privatization of Higher Education. To contextualize, in 2011 the USS pension scheme was, at great protest, split into two tiers; The Final Salary route and Career Average route for new entrants. But as expected by many the UUK are trying to close the final salary tier altogether. Meaning that all pensions would become career average pensions. What this effectively means is that pension’s become private pension schemes where contributor money is invested in the stock market and when someone retires, what pension they’ll get depends on how well their investments have done.
Some staff have expressed hesitance at boycotting as it may impact on our education, but I believe the future of Higher Education should be our top priority. This pension dispute has come as a direct result of recent changes to the Higher Education sector brought in by the Government. It might seem irrelevant for students and tutors to worry about pension schemes, but we all benefit, students and tutors, from the work done by our fellow colleagues and lecturers. An attack on their pay is an attack on education. The boycott isn’t just about pensions; the boycott is about the future of academia and how we value academics in our society.
As members of this community we shouldn’t fall into the trap of seeing students and staff as two separate groups. I understand and respect your choice if you choose to not boycott. However, I would encourage you show solidarity in the nationwide struggle against privatization and austerity in our education system. This is a crucial time for the future of Higher Education, action now is imperative to making sure education remains a public good and not just a profit-making scheme.
Dear [insert name],