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UCU strike action to continue from Monday

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The University and College Union has recommended further industrial action to its members; teaching staff from 39 universities will strike next week, including The University of Stirling.

The dispute over pay, pension, and working conditions continues for UCU members as strike action is scheduled to go ahead next week.

From Monday 21st to Friday 25th of March, members of UCU will take to the picket lines once more after unsuccessful negotiations with vice chancellors to revoke pension cuts and meet staff demands over pay and working conditions.

Additionally, the UCU has asked members to continue to undertake action short of a strike (ASOS), planned to run continuously until 3 May 2022.

ASOS involves working strictly to contract, therefore not covering absences of colleagues, and no voluntary work or services etc.

Students at The University of Stirling received an email yesterday informing them of the proposed industrial action, with assurances that many academic activities will take place as usual for students.

Iona Beveridge, Academic Registrar of UoS wrote: “It is disappointing that further national action is taking place, however not all members of staff will be taking industrial action and many academic activities will take place as usual.

“There will also be full access to campus facilities and services including the library, Campus Central, sports facilities and support services. Colleagues across the University are working hard to put plans in place to minimise potential disruption to our students.

“During the industrial action, you should work on the basis that your studies will continue as normal, unless you are advised otherwise. We will aim to give students as much notice as possible, where we are made aware of any disruption in advance. The Student Services Hub will remain open during the industrial action, and you can continue to contact the Hub team using Live Chat for matters relating to accessibility, mental health, wellbeing, money advice, payments, careers and employability, student learning services, registry services and Chaplaincy.”

According to the UCU, pension cuts will result in a 35% decrease in a typical member’s guaranteed retirement income. UCU also estimates staff pay is now down by 25.5% in real terms since 2009.

The UCU is demanding that employers revoke their cuts and re-enter negotiations. In the pay and working conditions dispute the union is demanding an end to race, gender and disability pay injustice; a framework to eliminate zero-hours and other insecure contracts; and meaningful action to tackle unmanageable workloads; as well as a £2.5k pay rise for all university employees.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady 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 re-ballot of members for future action will make employers see sense.

“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.”

The University has published a series of FAQs to help students with queries they may have during this time, which you can find here.

They have also advised students to contact their Faculty Officer if they have any concerns or to seek clarity and advice.

Featured Image Credit: UCU

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