University lecturers are voting on whether to strike over pay and pensions next term

‘Staff are struggling in the midst of devastating cost of living crisis’

After a year that’s seen 15 days of strike action at universities across the country, coupled with an ongoing marking boycott at 40 institutions, university staff are once again voting on whether to strike next term.

On Friday, the University and College Union (UCU) announced a vote will take place to decide on the next course of action for the strikes. This could pave the way to strike action in November this year and May 2023.

UCU claims lecturers and other staff working at universities face unfair pay and pension conditions. Research by the union suggests that staff do two days of unpaid work every week.

UCU also claims that the pay gap between men and women in the sector stands at 15.1 per cent, while the gap between black and white staff pay is around 17 per cent.

And for the first time, if the overall turnout for the vote reaches 50 per cent, with a majority of members voting for the strikes, all UK universities will be hit by strike action.

Previously just the unis that individually voted for strikes had a mandate to launch industrial action, marking this moment as a key escalation of the ongoing conflict.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “By attacking pensions, cutting pay and continually refusing to negotiate in good faith, vice chancellors have pushed staff towards taking more strike action, and now university staff are set to join the wave of industrial action sweeping the UK.

“We do not take such action lightly, but university staff are beyond sick of falling pay, cuts to pensions, unsafe workloads and the rampant use of insecure contracts.

“The university sector is worth tens of billions of pounds and is predicted to generate record levels of income. It can more than afford to meet the demands of staff who are struggling in the midst of devastating cost of living crisis.

“Time is running out and we hope vice chancellors finally see sense and address the long-standing concerns of staff. If they don’t, mass disruption will be entirely their fault.”

Featured image: Shutterstock / Ajit Wick

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