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University and College Union Announces Strikes

University and College Union announce strikes.

The University and College Union has announced eight days of strike over working conditions, pay and pensions. Staff from 60 universities, including some of the largest and most prestigious in the country, are to set walk out on the 25th of November until the 4th of December.

Amongst the Universities participating are Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge, University College London and many more in England, Scotland and Wales. Union leaders say that the action is likely to affect more than a million students, as the union urges universities to respond quickly in order to minimise disruption.

Only two years ago tens of thousands of university staff walked out on strike amidst disagreement over changes in pensions. This time, with 79% of union voters backing industrial action, the UCU hopes that employers will begin to take the union’s newest concerns seriously.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady has said:

“What we are saying is that enough is enough. We tried an interim solution last year and that didn’t work. If we have a vote for strikes this year the aim will be to fix the long-term issues, and not just another temporary fix”

With the union estimating that more than half of all academics are on temporary contracts and pay has fallen by 17% in real terms since 2009, the landslide vote victory is perhaps unsurprising.

The proposed strikes have already received backlash. Notably, some students who are demanding tuition fee refunds. This comes as no surprise as thousands of students, paying up to £9,250 a year in tuition fees, are set to face disruption to their lectures and seminars for a second time during their degrees.

Aidan Hall

Featured image courtesy of University and College Union via Facebook.

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