I’ve been following the dispute between universities and their staff over pensions as it affects staff and students at the University of Bristol in my constituency. Everyone should have a decent pension and as Labour Leader Keir Starmer reminded us this week, unions have a vital role in fighting for better working conditions.

I’ve been in regular contact with several university staff involved in the dispute over several years. I’ve put questions to ministers on their behalf (for example, on university pensions, see here and here). I also meet regularly with senior management at the University of Bristol.

University staff always work incredibly hard. It‘s been particularly tough over the last couple of years. Through the pandemic they have supported students in ways they could not have foreseen. I know the transition to online teaching has also been challenging.

University workers’ hard work and dedication must be recognised through proper pay and conditions. It is also important to address unfair pay in academia.

These strikes will also be hard on students, who have had two years of chaos. I’m encouraging the university and the trade unions to come together and find a long-term solution, in the best interests of staff and of students.

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