UCU announces eight days of strikes starting this month at 60 universities

5 November 2019

From UCU

Sixty UK universities* will be hit with eight days of strike action from Monday 25 November to Wednesday 4 December, UCU announced today.

Last week UCU members backed strike action in two separate legal disputes, one on pensions and one on pay and working conditions. Overall, 79% of UCU members who voted backed strike action in the ballot over changes to pensions. In the ballot on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads, 74% of members polled backed strike action.

The union said universities had to respond positively and quickly if they wanted to avoid disruption this year. The disputes centre on changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and universities’ failure to make improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads.

The overall turnout in the USS ballot was 53% and on pay and conditions it was 49%. The union disaggregated the ballots so branches who secured a 50% turnout can take action in this first wave. The union’s higher education committee has now set out the timetable for the action.

As well as eight strike days from 25 November to Wednesday 4 December, union members will begin ‘action short of a strike’ when they return to work. This involves things like working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘The first wave of strikes will hit universities later this month unless the employers start talking to us seriously about how they are going to deal with rising pension costs and declining pay and conditions.

‘Any general election candidate would be over the moon with a result along the lines of what we achieved last week. Universities can be in no doubt about the strength of feeling on these issues and we will be consulting branches whose desire to strike was frustrated by anti-union laws about reballoting.’

Last year, university campuses were brought to a standstill by unprecedented levels of strike action. UCU said it was frustrated that members had to be balloted again, but that universities’ refusal to deal with their concerns had left them with no choice.

Last month, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner called on both sides to get round the table for urgent talks. She said she fully supported UCU members fighting for fair pay and decent pensions and called on both sides to work together to find solutions to the disputes.

* Universities affected by strike action from Monday 25 November

Both disputes (43):
1. Aston University
2. Bangor University
3. Cardiff University
4. University of Durham
5. Heriot-Watt University
6. Loughborough University
7. Newcastle University
8. The Open University
9. The University of Aberdeen
10. The University of Bath
11. The University of Dundee
12. The University of Leeds
13. The University of Manchester
14. The University of Sheffield
15. University of Nottingham
16. The University of Stirling
17. University College London
18. The University of Birmingham
19. The University of Bradford
20. The University of Bristol
21. The University of Cambridge
22. The University of Edinburgh
23. The University of Exeter
24. The University of Essex
25. The University of Glasgow
26. The University of Lancaster
27. The University of Leicester
28. City University
29. Goldsmiths College
30. Queen Mary University of London
31. Royal Holloway
32. The University of Reading
33. The University of Southampton
34. The University of St Andrews
35. Courtauld Institute of Art
36. The University of Strathclyde
37. The University of Wales
38. The University of Warwick
39. The University of York
40. The University of Liverpool
41. The University of Sussex
42. The University of Ulster
43. Queen’s University Belfast
Pay and conditions dispute only (14):
1. Bishop Grosseteste University
2. Bournemouth University
3. Edge Hill University
4. Glasgow Caledonian University
5. Glasgow School of Art
6. Liverpool Hope University
7. Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts
8. Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
9. St Mary’s University College, Belfast
10. Roehampton University
11. Sheffield Hallam University
12. The University of Brighton
13. The University of Kent
14. The University of Oxford
USS pensions dispute only (3):
1. Scottish Association of Marine Science
2. The University of East Anglia
3. Institute of Development Studies

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