UK unis to be hit with for another 18 days of lecturer strikes before Easter

Here we go again

UK universities are going to be hit with another 18 days of lecturer and staff strikes before Easter.

The University and College Union (UCU) has announced that 70,000 staff at 150 UK universities will be striking for 18 days in February and March, as staff are in an ongoing campaign for better pay and pensions, among other things.

We have already seen three days of strikes at almost every university in the country before Christmas of this academic year, as well as up to 18 days of strike action at over 140 universities last academic year. A Tab investigation this summer found Russell Group unis saved £11million in withheld pay whilst lecturers were on strike last university year.

The UCU has not yet said the exact dates uni staff will be striking, and has said this will be confirmed next week.

The union says “the clock is ticking” for university bosses to avoid widespread disruption this year.

They are campaigning for a meaningful pay rise to ease the cost of living crisis, the ending of use of insecure contracts, and are demanding unis revoke cuts to pensions and restore benefits.

Unis gave a pay rise of three per cent this year (with inflation currently over 10 per cent), after what the UCU calls “over a decade of below-inflation pay awards”. Yesterday the Universities and Colleges Employers Association gave an offer with between four and five percent, but the UCU said this is “not enough”.

Jo Grady, the UCU general secretary, said: “Today our union came together to back an unprecedented programme of escalating strike action. The clock is now ticking for the sector to produce a deal or be hit with widespread disruption throughout spring.

“University staff dedicate their lives to education and they want to get back to work, but that will only happen if university vice-chancellors use the vast wealth of the sector to address over a decade of falling pay, rampant insecure employment practices and devastating pension cuts. The choice is theirs.”

Featured image via Vuk Valcic/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock

Related stories recommended by this writer:

‘More needs to be done’: Government’s ‘woefully inadequate’ student loan increase slammed

NUS a ‘hostile environment’ for Jewish students, investigation finds

Whilst you can’t afford to heat your home, the Vice Chancellor of Imperial is earning £700k