UCU strikes confirmed for February & March

King’s UCU to ‘start planning!’

On Monday the University and College Union announced 14 strike days across 74 universities from 20 February to 13 March, affecting around 1.2 million students.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'We have seen more members back strikes since the winter walkouts and this next wave of action will affect even more universities and students.'

The strikes will escalate each week, finishing with a week-long walkout in the final weeks of spring term:

Week 1: Thursday 20 & Friday 21 February

Week 2: Monday 24, Tuesday 25 & Wednesday 26 February

Week 3: Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 March

Week 4: Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 & Friday 13 March

King's have a reading week during Week 1. King's UCU said Monday it's "very likely" strikes at King's will start on Week 2 of the action.

The Tab King's reported on the possibility of strikes last week, but King's still haven't made an announcement to students. Meanwhile, King's UCU said Monday it's: "Time to start planning!"

This walkout is the latest in a round of UCU strikes over pay, conditions and pensions. At King's, the strike is over the pensions dispute only.

The argument is about whether employers or staff should fund the reported deficit in the sector's biggest pension scheme, the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

The UCU believes employers should cover the entirety of the cost, but at the moment, staff will pay for one-third of the deficit, with employers covering the remaining two-thirds.

Grady commented, 'If universities want to avoid further disruption they need to deal with rising pension costs, and address the problems over pay and conditions'.

Financial modelling by First Actuarial has shown that because of the changes made to the scheme in 2011, the average staff member will pay in around £40,000 more over their working lifetime, but receive almost £200,000 less in retirement.

Last September, Grady said, 'A typical USS member will be around £240,000 worse off … it is no wonder they have had enough'.

If this round of strikes doesn't achieve results, the UCU will reballot its members and consider action to the end of 2020.

We asked King's for a commented on the strikes but they have yet to respond.

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