The University and College Union (UCU) has confirmed its members will strike over a period of 18 days in February and March impacting 150 UK universities.
70,000 UCU members are set to strike unless university employers come to a decision over pay, working conditions and pension cuts.
If the strikes go ahead, it will be the biggest-ever series of strikes to affect universities in the UK. Full dates of strike action include:
- February 1
- February 9 and 10
- February 14, 15 and 16
- February 21, 22 and 23
- February 27 and 28
- March 1 and 2
- March 16 and 17
- March 20, 21 and 22
Why is the UCU striking?
In order to avoid further industrial action, university employers must agree to improve their pay rise offer of 4-5 per cent to better reflect the effect of the cost-of-living crisis and revoke the cuts impacting employee pensions.
Union leaders are also calling for action against zero-hours contracts, temporary contracts and ways to tackle excessive workloads.
The UCU will also be re-balloting its members to decide whether strike action will continue into the academic year.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady defended the strikes, saying university employers have the power to end them:
“The university sector in the UK has over £40bn sitting in reserves, but instead of using that vast wealth to deliver a cost-of-living pay rise and reverse devastating pension cuts, university vice-chancellors would rather force staff to take strike action and see campuses shut down.”
Grady continued by acknowledging the disruption the strikes cause for staff and students:
“Students understand that staff working conditions are their learning conditions and we are proud to have their support in these disputes. A system that relies on low pay and the rampant use of insecure contracts is a system which fails everyone.”
Staff previously walked out in November for three days in 2022.
Featured Image Credit: UCU