London universities to be hit with five days of strikes at the start of term
This comes as marking and assessment boycotts just ended
Members of the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) at 30 London universities will strike for five days at the end of September as freshers and returning students arrive on campuses for the start of term.
The strikes, which will last from Monday 25th to Friday 29th September, are part of the union’s long-standing dispute with university employers over pay and working conditions.
In addition, participating UCU staff will continue their ongoing action short of a strike (ASOS), which will see them working strictly to contract and not taking on any voluntary and extra tasks, such as rescheduling classes missed during strikes.
The UCU represents academic staff like lecturers and tutors at UK universities and colleges. Over the past few years, it has called numerous strikes, ASOS, and marking boycotts over two disputes with their employers: one for better pay and working conditions and the other against cuts to pensions and benefits.
The five days of strikes at the end of this month, the marking boycotts over the summer, and the ongoing ASOS affect universities involved in the pay and working conditions dispute. Notably, Imperial College London will not be impacted by the upcoming strikes nor any ASOS as its UCU branch is only involved in the pensions dispute.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said the union is “left with no option but to strike” due to its lack of progress in combating low pay, “gig-economy employment practices,” and high workloads.
“We have sought to settle this dispute at every opportunity, including agreeing to a joint review of sector finances, but we are faced with employers that want to see staff and students suffer. We desperately hope vice-chancellors realise we are going nowhere without a fair settlement and make us a realistic offer,” she said.
The union is also re-balloting members to renew a nationwide mandate for industrial actions over pay and working conditions. The ballot results will decide whether UCU can “escalate the dispute by taking further action this year and into 2024.”
The 30 London universities impacted by the upcoming strikes are:
- Birkbeck, University of London
- Brunel University
- City, University of London
- Courtauld Institute of Art
- East London, University of
- Goldsmiths, University of London
- Greenwich, University of
- King’s College London
- Kingston University
- London Metropolitan University
- London School of Economics
- London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
- London South Bank University
- Middlesex University
- Queen Mary, University of London
- Roehampton University
- Royal Academy of Music
- Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
- Royal College of Art
- Royal College of Music
- Royal Holloway, University of London
- Royal Veterinary College, University of London
- Senate House, University of London
- SOAS, University of London
- St George’s, University of London
- St Mary’s University, Twickenham
- University College London
- University of the Arts London
- West London, University of
- Westminster, University of