No uni on St Patrick’s Day: All 18 days Queen’s lecturers are striking announced
UCU members will be striking across February and March
The Univeristy and College Union (UCU) has announced all the dates for the upcoming 18 days of strike action across February and March.
Among the seven weeks of disruption, Queen’s lecturers are set to strike on St Patrick’s Day, potentially giving Belfast students the chance to enjoy the day to the maximum.
The full strike dates are as followed:
Week One: Wednesday 1st February
Week Two: Thursday 9th and Friday 10th February
Week Three: Tuesday 14th, Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th February
Week Four: Tuesday 21st, Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd February
Week Five: Monday 27th, Tuesday 28th February and Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd March
Week Six: No strike action this week
Week Seven: Thursday 16th and Friday 17th March
Week Eight: Monday 20th, Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd March
If the strikes go ahead, the UCU say it will be the biggest university industrial action in history.
Alongside Queen’s University Belfast, a further 149 universities, totalling 70,000 members of staff are taking part in the strikes.
The UCU said it’s meeting with the Universities and Colleges Employers Association tomorrow. They are calling on the organisation, which represents to university employers, to “substantially improve on the pay offer of four to five per cent to avoid disruption”.
Queen’s lecturers who are members of the UCU are striking over pay, working conditions and pension cuts.
The UCU argue cuts made last year means the average union member will lose 35 per cent from their guaranteed future retirement income. This figure is even higher for less experienced university staff who have worked in their job for a shorter period of time.
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.”
The union boss also said students understand “staff working conditions are their learning conditions” and she said she was proud to have their support in the dispute. “A system that relies on low pay and the rampant use of insecure contracts is a system which fails everyone,” she added.
This might not be the end of disruption for Queen’s students this year. The UCU also announced it will reballot its members next week to allow staff to take further action throughout the rest of the year.
Jo Grady said: “A resolution can be reached, but that is in the gift of university vice-chancellors who need to urgently reassess their priorities and deliver a deal that benefits staff and students. From February, our union will begin reballoting its members to allow action to continue through the rest of the academic year, should they continue to drag their feet.”
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