The University and College Union (UCU) has confirmed numerous strike dates set to take place in February and March. The industrial action will hit 150 UK universities unless employers make “substantially improved offers” in a long-standing dispute over pay, working conditions and pension cuts, say the union.
If the action goes ahead, it will be the biggest series of strikes “ever to hit UK university campuses”. Today (January 25) the UCU will meet with university employer representative the Universities and Colleges Employers Association to ask employers to substantially improve on a previous proposed pay increase of four to five per cent to avoid disruption.
The UCU is demanding a “meaningful” pay rise as staff grapple with the cost of living crisis as well as the use of insecure work contracts. It has also demanded that employers revoke pension cuts and restore benefits.
The union said the package of cuts made last year will see the average member lose a whopping 35 per cent from their guaranteed future retirement income - for those at the beginning of their career, the losses “are in the hundreds and thousands of pounds”.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “The university sector in the UK has over £40bn sitting in reserves, but instead of using that vast wealth to deliver a cost-of-living pay rise and reverse devastating pension cuts, university vice-chancellors would rather force staff to take strike action and see campuses shut down.
“There is a clear route out of these disputes, but at present vice-chancellors lack the political will to take it. They are failing staff who want to get back to work, and students who want to get on with their studies.”
UCU will also be reballoting its 70,000 members at the 150 universities in dispute to extend the union’s mandate and allow staff to take further action through the rest of the academic year. The reballot campaign will be launched this week.
When are university staff going on strike in February and March - full list of dates
In total, 70,000 UCU members will walk out. The full list of strike dates is as follows:
- Week 1 - Wednesday, February 1
- Week 2 - Thursday, February 9 and Friday, February 10
- Week 3 - Tuesday, February 14, Wednesday, February 15 and Thursday, February 16
- Week 4 - Tuesday, February 21, Wednesday, February 22 and Thursday, February 23
- Week 5 - Monday, February 27, Tuesday, February 28, Wednesday, March 1 and Thursday, Match 2
- [No action week commencing Monday, March 6]
- Week 6 - Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17
- Week 7 - Monday, March 20, Tuesday, March 21 and Wednesday, March 22