UCU Announces 8 Day Strike Affecting 60 Universities

Two days ago the day this article was written the University and College Union announced eight days of strike starting this month, which will affect 60 universities across the country including Royal Holloway.

The strike will take action between Monday 25th of November to Wednesday 4th of December. The action has been called in response to concerns regarding member contributions to the USS pension scheme, pay and conditions. There have been talks which could indicate the dispute could be resolved without industrial action, however this so far seems unlikely.

Last week UCU members backed strike action in two separate legal disputes, one on pensions and one on pay and working conditions. Overall, 79% of UCU members voted for strike action in the ballot over changes to pensions. In the ballot on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads, 74% of members voted to back strike action.

The union has urged for universities to respond positively and quickly if they wanted to avoid any disruption this year. The disputes focus on changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and universities’ failure to improve pay, equality, casualisation and workloads.

As well as 8 strike days, further disruption is expected as union members will begin “action short of a strike”, which will involve things such as working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.

Last year, university campuses were brought to a standstill by unprecedented levels of strike action, and such action only seems to further be on the rise as universities refuse to deal with union member’s concerns leaving them “no choice”.

Academics Strike
Academics protesting during the strike action last year resulting in standstill.

Professor Paul Layzell, Principal of the University, in the newsletter has acknowledged that the news of potential industrial action is concerning, and has reassured students that they will be kept updated on any development and that the Student’s Union will also be kept informed. He urges students in the meantime to attend their classes as usual and focus on their studies.