UCU pensions strikes announced in 61 universities

29 January 2018

UCU announces 14 strike dates at 61 universities in pensions row

29 January 2018

Strikes will begin on Thursday 22 February

UCU has written to the 61 universities* to inform them of an escalating wave of strikes over a four-week period that will begin with a five-day walkout either side of a weekend. There will then be four days of strikes from Monday 5 – Thursday 8 March and a full five-day walkout the following week (12 – 16 March). The strike dates are:

Week one – Thursday 22 and Friday 23 February (two days)

Week two – Monday 26, Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 February (three days)

Week three – Monday 5, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March (four days)

Week four – Monday 12, Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15 and Friday 16 March (five days)

Due to their academic calendar four universities – King’s, Queen Mary, Edinburgh and Stirling – will not take action in week one. They will start their action in week two on Monday 26 February. They will then walk out for two days on Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 March.

Last week talks between UCU and the employers’ representative Universities UK (UUK) ended without agreement and UUK’s plans to transform the scheme were forced through by the chair’s casting vote.

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

In the recent strike ballot UCU members overwhelmingly backed industrial action. Overall, 88% of members who voted backed strike action and 93% backed action short of a strike. The turnout was 58%. A full breakdown of the results by institution is available here.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘Staff who have delivered the international excellence universities boast of are understandably angry at efforts to slash their pensions. They feel let down by vice-chancellors who seem to care more about defending their own pay and perks than the rights of their staff.

‘Strike action on this scale has not been seen before on UK campuses, but universities need to know the full scale of the disruption they will be hit with if they refuse to sort this mess out.’

Seven universities^ failed to meet the government’s new 50% turnout requirement for action to be allowed. Those institutions are being balloted again for strike action and their ballots will close on Friday 16 February.

All seven voted for action in the previous ballot. If they do so again, and at least 50% participate in the vote, they would be able to join the action from Monday 5 March.


Universities affected by strike action

Aberdeen, University of
Aberystwyth University
Aston University
Bangor University
Bath, University of
Birkbeck College, University of London
Bristol, University of
Brunel University
Cambridge, University of
Cardiff University
City, University of London
Courtauld Institute of Art
Cranfield University
Dundee, University of
Durham University
East Anglia, University of
Edinburgh, University of
Essex, University of
Exeter, University of
Glasgow, University of
Goldsmiths, University of London
Heriot-Watt University
Hull, University of
Imperial College London
Institute of Education
Keele University
Kent, University of
King’s College London
Lancaster, University of
Leeds, University of
Leicester, University of
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Liverpool, University of
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Loughborough University
Manchester, University of
Newcastle University
Nottingham, University of
Open University
Oxford, University of
Queen Mary, University of London
Queen’s University Belfast
Reading, University of
Royal Holloway, University of London
Royal Veterinary College, University of London
Salford, University of
Senate House, University of London
Sheffield, University of
SOAS, University of London
Southampton, University of
St Andrews, University of
Stirling, University of
Strathclyde, University of
Surrey, University of
Sussex, University of
University College London
Scottish Association for Marine Science at University of the Highlands and Islands
Ulster University
University of Wales
University of Warwick
University of York

Universities being balloted again for action

Birmingham, University of
Bradford, University of
London School of Economics
Ruskin College
St George’s, University of London
Suffolk, University
Swansea University

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