Oxford dons to walk out?

Academics’ union calls for members to vote for strike

Oxford University dons may soon find themselves on the picket lines.

The local branch of the University and Colleges Union, the major trade union for academics, has called for support on a ballot on strike action that is set to run through into Fresher’s Week.

The Union has declared itself “in dispute with the University of Oxford” over wages, claiming that the offered 1% rise is “unacceptable” after several years of cuts in real wages.

“In dispute” – UCU fed up with “real-term cuts in pay”

In an email to members, UCU leaders have “urged [members] to vote for both strike action and action short of a strike”. John Parrington, a lecturer in pharmacology and prominent opponent of government higher education policy, has slammed “the disgraceful way in which we are [not] being rewarded for our hard work as lecturers”.

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What’s more, if the dons go to war, they won’t be alone. UNISON and Unite, the major public sector unions whose membership comprises most support staff at the university, have pledged to follow the UCU in any action.

Any strike action would likely occur towards the end of Michaelmas Term, and could cause chaos at the university – lectures called off, tutorials cancelled, even university buildings closed.

It begs the question: which side will the students be on?

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