Lancs lecturers to strike for 40 per cent of teaching time in the next two months

The strikes are set to take place over 18 days throughout February and March

Lancaster lecturers who are members of the University and College Union (UCU) will go on strike for 18 days throughout February and March.

There are 20 working days in February and 23 in march, meaning 18 days of strike action make up 41 per cent of the total teaching time.

The UCU stated on Twitter that every university in the UK will be participating in the strikes, posting, “every single UK University will be shut down with 18 days of strike action across February and March”.

Exact dates will be shared “in the coming days”.

The announcement explains the strikes will be taking place due to “disputes over pay, conditions and attacks on pensions”.

The decision was made “by the union’s higher education committee (HEC)”. The union said: “The committee also agreed to re-ballot staff at all 150 universities to renew UCU’s mandate and allow the union to call action well into 2023, including a marking and assessment boycott from April, unless the disputes are settled. ”

The union has responded that “the clock is ticking” for university bosses who wish to “avoid widespread disruption this year”.

The demands include a “meaningful pay rise” to combat the cost-of-living crisis, and they act to “end the use of insecure contracts”. Following last year’s pension cuts, many UCU members faced a 35 per cent loss, thus the UCU demands that “employers revoke cuts and restore benefits”.

Offers made to the UCU include a three per cent pay rise from employers, and a pay offer “worth between four per cent and five per cent” from The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA). However, the UCU stated that these offers were “not enough”.

The union claims that many members’ pay has “fallen by 25 per cent since 2009”, arguing that vice chancellors “refuse to invest in staff”, meaning “staff have been left with no other option but to fight back. Vice chancellors have been given countless opportunities to address failing pay, insecure employment, equality pay gaps and pension cuts”.

The union maintains that although its action is labelled “unprecedented”, it is a “direct consequence” of the “repeated attacks on staff by vice chancellors”. It believes that “staff have been left with no other option”.

In response to a tweet by Metro which said “more than 70,000 staff” will be participating in the strike, UCU responded: “We will shut down higher education unless our needs are met”.

UCU General Secretary, Jo Grady, 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.

“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.”

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