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UEA lecturers are striking again over pensions and pay

They will last 14 days in total

UEA will be one of 47 universities where staff will once again go on strike to dispute both pensions and pay.

Workers from over 70 universities will walk out in strikes about working conditions, pensions, and wages. The strikes are planned to last around four weeks with 14 days in total.

The dates for the walk outs, as planned by the University and College Union (UCU) are as follows: February – 20, 21, 24, 25, 26. March – 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.

After similar strikes last year, the UCU general secretary Jo Grady has said: "We haven't yet seen the movement we need" and that the Union will take "serious and sustained industrial action."

Ms Grady also said: "As well as the strikes starting later this month, we are going to ballot members to ensure that we have a fresh mandate for further action to cover the rest of the academic year if these disputes are not resolved."

A spokesman for UCEA, which represents employers in the pay dispute, said: "We are dismayed, and many higher education institutions will be so too, to see UCU's HEC decide to ask the union's members to once again use damaging strike action over last year's national pay demands.

"Strike action should always be a last resort and we believe that UCU's 70,000 members in the 147 institutions should now be given a say.

"There are new ways forward being offered by HE employers, UCEA has made available significant positive proposals on key issues in UCU's dispute – contractual arrangements, workload/mental health and gender pay gaps/ethnicity pay – developed following two months of talks with UCU.

"Strikes in less than half the universities in the multi-employer negotiations are not the answer and are in real danger of undermining the national collective pay bargaining arrangements."

A spokesman for Universities UK, which represents employers in the pensions dispute, said: "We regret that UCU are planning further strike action at a time when positive talks on the future of the scheme are making significant progress and are ongoing.
Despite this, UCU continue to request that employers pay still higher contributions at unaffordable levels.

"By law, pension costs had to rise to maintain current benefits. Employers have agreed to cover 65% of these increased costs, taking their contribution to 21.1% of salaries from October 2019 – together committing £250m more a year. Members have been asked to make a fair contribution too.
The best way forward is to work collectively to secure a pension scheme that is highly valued and affordable for all.

"The current tripartite talks between UCU, USS, and UUK, which are set to continue at least until March, are building a shared understanding on the future of the scheme, jointly developing governance reforms and considering alternative pathways for the 2020 valuation.

"Universities will put in place a series of measures to minimise the impact of industrial action on students, other staff and the wider community."

The union said strike mandates are only legally valid for six months, so those that took action in November will need fresh ballots to be able to take action after April.