UCU Strikes: 70,000 staff, 150 universities, 18 days

‘We would not be calling this action if we thought that there was another way’

Having announced 18 days of strike action this month, the UCU has just confirmed that the university strikes will begin on Wednesday 1st February, spreading across seven weeks in total. The University of Cambridge will also join 149 other universities across the UK in these strikes.

The dates are as follows:

  • Week 1 – Wednesday 1 February
  • Week 2 – Thursday 9 and Friday 10 February
  • Week 3 – Tuesday 14, Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 February
  • Week 4 – Tuesday 21, Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 February
  • Week 5 – Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 February; Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 March
  • Week 6 – Thursday 16 and Friday 17 March
  • Week 7 – Monday 20, Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March

The movement supports the UCU’s campaign for a considerable pay rise in response to the cost of living crisis and the termination of relying on insecure contracts. Concerning the dispute over pensions, UCU demands that employers repeal the series of cuts taken last year, given that an average employee will lose 35 per cent from their retirement income.

The general secretary of UCU, Jo Grady, stated: “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.”

The secretary continued by saying that there is indeed a “clear route” out of the issue, yet she argued that the vice-chancellors do not have the political motivation to take action and thus, in doing so, are not only failing staff, but students as well who wish to continue with their studies without disruption. Grady also clarifies that students across the country understand the effect that staff working conditions have on their own learning conditions and members are “proud to have their support in these disputes.”

If the strike action goes ahead, this will be the largest series of strikes that UK universities have ever seen and will bring the total number of days of strikes up to 21 this academic year, after almost every university in the country experienced three days of it before Christmas.

The Downing Site picket from the three days of strikes before Christmas (Image credit: Felix Armstrong)

The UCU states “Back your union, back this action, UCU and proud.”

This is a live story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

The University of Cambridge has also been contacted for comment.

Featured image credit: Felix Armstrong