Novel support for strikers: Authors back university lecturers in industrial action

Authors refuse to cross picket line Credit: PA Images

A Booker prize nominated Author has cancelled an appearance at the University of East Anglia over the strike on pensions.

Jon McGregor, who wrote Reservoir 13, has pulled out of the University of East Anglia’s Spring Literary Festival as strikes enter third week.

Instead he'll headline an event at Students’ Union in support of striking staff. he'll be joined by Essex Serpent writer Sarah Perry, UEA alum Megan Bradbury and James Meek.

The author was due to appear at the UEA Spring Literary Festival on Wednesday but said that he will not cross the picket line.

The ‘Writers for the Strike’ event will run from 5 – 7pm on Wednesday.

Mr McGregor said:

"Although I had been very much looking forward to reading at the UEA Spring 2018 Literary Festival, I will not be able to do so while strike action in defence of university staff pensions is ongoing. I have never crossed a picket line in my life, and am not about to start now. Instead, I will be joining staff, students, and writers for an evening of readings and discussion as part of the Alternative University being organised by striking staff and hosted by the Students’ Union."

– John McGregor

The pension dispute centres on proposals to end the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) – a move which UCU says would leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement than under the current set-up.