UCU announces 18 days of strikes over the next two months at more than 30 London unis

There might also be marking boycotts that ‘strategically target the summer finals’

The University and College Union (UCU) announced 18 more days of strikes between February and March at 150 UK universities, including 31 in London. The exact dates will be confirmed next week.

This is an escalation in the union’s dispute with university employers over pay, working conditions, and pensions, which had just caused three days of nationwide strikes last November.

The union will also re-ballot to renew its ability to call industrial actions at all 150 universities further into 2023. If successful, marking and assessment boycotts might be called in April to “strategically target the summer finals” unless the disputes are settled.

UCU represents academic staff such lecturers and tutors at universities and colleges across the UK. Over the past few years, it has called numerous strikes, action short of a strikes, and marking boycotts over two disputes: one for better pay and working conditions, and the other against cuts to pensions and benefits.

These industrial actions have disrupted almost a month of teaching for students last year.

The upcoming strikes come after the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) failed to meet the UCU’s demands for “a meaningful pay rise to deal with the cost-of-living crisis [and] action to end the use of insecure contracts.”

It was revealed that earlier this week, the UCEA offered a pay rise of between four and five per cent to the UCU to settle the dispute. But Jo Grady, general secretary of the UCU, said the union will not settle until employers “put more money on the table” and “bring forward discussions on non-pay related issues.”

She said about the decision to call more strikes: ‘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.”

Unless an agreement is reached before then, these London unis will be hit by the new wave of strikes in the next two months:

  1. Birkbeck, University of London
  2. Brunel University London
  3. City, University of London
  4. Courtauld Institute of Art
  5. University of East London
  6. Goldsmiths, University of London
  7. University of Greenwich
  8. Imperial College London
  9. King’s College London
  10. Kingston University
  11. London Metropolitan University
  12. London School of Economics
  13. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  14. London South Bank University
  15. Middlesex University
  16. Queen Mary, University of London
  17. Roehampton University
  18. Royal Academy of Music
  19. Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
  20. Royal College of Art
  21. Royal College of Music
  22. Royal Holloway, University of London
  23. Royal Veterinary College, University of London
  24. Senate House, University of London
  25. SOAS, University of London
  26. St George’s, University of London
  27. St Mary’s University, Twickenham
  28. University College London
  29. University of the Arts London
  30. University of West London
  31. University of Westminster

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