Welsh uni staff offered new deal but will continue to strike while they deliberate

‘This breakthrough is down to the strength, determination and sacrifice of university workers who have stood on picket lines’

Welsh universities have made offers involving new pay, working conditions and pensions for striking staff following long running disputes. However, strikes will continue while union members consider these new offers.

The University and College Union (UCU) has been conducting walk-outs across UK universities over the past few weeks in dispute over issues on involuntary zero-hour contracts, equality pay gaps, high workloads, and pensions.

The UCU stated cuts made last year would see the average member lose 35 percent of their guaranteed future retirement income which could leave members tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket.

The new offer presents new standards, frameworks, and principles which aim at tackling these issues, including the declaration that all zero hour contracts will be phased out from August 2023 onwards.

The main proposal however focuses on restoring the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension, as well as ensuring lower paid staff are not excluded from this. Sustainability has also been at the heart of the new deal to prevent this situation from occurring again.

UCU general secretary, Jo Grady said: “Today, on our tenth day of strike action and after weeks of intensive negotiations, university employers have finally agreed to put forward a set of proposals on pay, conditions and pensions. This breakthrough is down to the strength, determination and sacrifice of university workers who have stood on picket lines.”

Following the announcement, Grady held a meeting in Swansea with UCU members who praised the new deal, voting yes on the re-ballot in support.

Staff at every university in Wales will continue to strike today and are set to strike from Monday 20th to Wednesday 22nd next week. Walk outs by the 70,000 UCU members will continue while members deliberate whether to stand down action and formally accept the new offer.

The union’s higher education committee meets on Friday to decide next steps.

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