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December, 2011:

Unilever workers on strike over pension

Unite, USDAW, and GMB workers at Unilever in Port Sunlight and Warrington, in addition to their other sites across the UK, are to take strike action on Friday (9th Dec) over changes to their pension scheme. The changes include withdrawal of the final salary pension benefit from existing scheme members.

Unilever seem to have forgotten their reputation for treating workers well, and are instead opting for BA-style punitive measures, above and beyond deduction of pay. They are reported to have retaliated by undertaking a number of measures, including:
-Withdrawal of workers’ Christmas hampers at striking sites
-Blocking holiday bookings for next year
-Refusing to pay sick pay for this week (2-9th Dec)


Current students can expect to graduate with £24,700 debt

A Grauniad article on student accommodation finishes with a depressing stat in the last couple of paragraphs.

“…Meanwhile, a report published last week suggests the problem of student debt is getting worse. The Push Student Debt Survey, which questioned 2,000 students, found that those starting this autumn can expect to owe £24,700, compared with students who began courses last year who are likely to graduate with debts of £23,200.

Undergraduates now owe, on average, £5,600 for each year of study after any help they are given by parents is stripped away. The report found that average debt for students at university in England is £5,293 per year, while in Wales it is £6,411. In Scotland, where fees are still paid centrally, the average debt per year of study is just £2,637.”

Applied retrospectively, do you think you would you have been discouraged from studying for a degree on these terms?