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Here’s what went down with Universities UK on Twitter last night

It was a whole damn MESS

By Non Frenguelli

For those of you who aren’t up to date on the University and College Union (UCU) strikes, here’s the deets.

The UCU are currently striking over proposed changes to their pensions (that come from the Universities Superannuation Scheme, USS) that would mean that the average lecturer would lose £10k per annum from their pension.

In response, the UCU have taken to strike action as a last resort. While the strike is going on, there are negotiations happening at Acas attempting to resolve the dispute.

Yesterday (Monday 5th), the negotiations between the UCU and UUK ended with no resolution and talks were to be postponed until Wednesday.

UUK had said that they needed time to cost up the UCU’s new proposal and so wouldn’t be able to meet until Wednesday when this had been completed.

This was repeated on Twitter many times throughout yesterday evening and last night, until, suddenly, UUK seemed to change its mind.

Several striking academics and supporters had tweeted the Universities UK Twitter account, @UniversitiesUK, asking why talks had been suspended when the UCU had said that they were willing to talk until the dispute had been resolved.

At about 8 o’clock last night, UUK suddenly appeared to change their mind. Twitter user @nicholasggrant asked what UUK could be doing tomorrow that meant they couldn’t meet, and UUK appeared to decide on the spot that, actually, they were free to meet tomorrow:

The UCU grabbed this

…and tried to spin it to make it look like it had been the UCU’s fault that talks weren’t happening today all along…

They tried very hard to spin it like this…

…Very, very hard

Oh dear UUK, making vitally important negotiation decisions that affect thousands of people’s pensions on Twitter at 8pm? Not cute.

One Twitter user had a very simple analysis of why the sudden change of heart happened:

The UCU and members then proceeded to have an absolute FIELD DAY

And eventually, it was confirmed that UUK were willing to meet on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.

So what happened? Did UUK suddenly realise the amount of bad press it was getting for suspending talks and decide to fix it? Is the Twitter account shared by two people and one just had no idea what was going on? Was it all just one user who’d had too many drinks?

A few academics had ideas…

Either way, the striking academics knew they would still be on strike in the morning.

So anyway, that was the whole fucking mess in all its glory. Hopefully this gets resolved ASAP!


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