UCU ‘called further waves of strike actions’ at 14 London unis in late March
There will be five more days of strikes between 21 March and 1 April
Unis impacted by these strikes will see staff walkout either from 21 to 25 March or 28 March to 1 April.
Jo Grady, UCU’s general secretary, said: “Vice chancellors could easily end this dispute and prevent further disruption in our universities, but they would rather attack the pensions, pay and working conditions of their own staff and damage the sector at the same time. Students and staff alike deserve better leadership than this, and we hope that this action and our reballot of members for future action will make employers see sense.”
Even though there had already been two rounds of strikes this academic year, UCU announced more for later this month “after employers forced through pension cuts and refused to negotiate meaningfully over pay and working conditions.”
They are demanding for uni employers to revoke their alleged 35 per cent slash on a typical staff’s retirement pensions in February, be willing to negotiate, end pay gaps in terms of race, gender and disability, eliminate insecure contracts, tackle unmanageable workloads, and give all uni employees a £2.5k pay raise.
Unless an agreement is reached for these demands, which the union claims that “universities can more than afford to meet,” 14 London unis will be hit by staff walkout on these dates:
Birkbeck, U of L – 21 to 25 March
City, U of L – 28 March to 1 April
Goldsmiths, U of L – 28 March to 1 April
Imperial – 21 to 25 March
KCL – 28 March to 1 April
LSE – 28 March to 1 April
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – 21 to 25 March
Queen Mary, U of L – 28 March to 1 April
Royal College of Art – 28 March to 1 April
Royal Holloway, U of L – 21 to 25 March
SOAS, U of L – 21 to 25 March
UAL – 21 to 25 March
UCL – 21 to 25 March
University of Westminster – 28 March to 1 April
UCU also accused unis of being “compelled to dock 100 per cent of the pay of staff taking ASOS [Actions Short of a Strike],” which have been ongoing since December. They specifically cited an attempt by Queen Mary’s management to do so and warned of “further disruption” any unis trying to repeat it, possibly a marking and assessment boycott as hinted before.
Most of London’s students’ unions support the strikes, with many participating in the student strike organised by the National Union of Students on 2 March. There have also been other demonstrations by London students who support the UCU’s cause, including an occupation at SOAS and fee strikes at Goldsmiths.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “Universities in the UK bring in tens of billions in income each year and have tens of billions more hoarded in their reserves. There is no justification whatsoever for slashing staff pensions or refusing to take action over falling pay, shocking equality pay gaps, rampant casualisation and unsafe workloads.
“For years our union has been offering sensible and deliverable solutions that would benefit staff, students and the entire sector, but employers are just not interested.
“Students support staff because they know that staff working conditions are their learning conditions. They also know that universities have the money to give staff what they deserve. Until vice chancellors get the message, staff will continue to take action to defend themselves.”