Wednesday 24 April 2024
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University staff to join 70,000 others and strike on 1 February

The University and College Union (UCU) today, Tuesday 17 January announced that over 70,000 staff at 150 universities will strike on Wednesday 1 February.

Nottingham Trent University isn’t affected.

The University of Nottingham is listed as a site where industrial action will take place.

UCU is in dispute with 150 universities over the issues of pay, pensions and working conditions. The union said ‘the clock is ticking’ for university bosses to make staff a serious offer and avoid disruption.

A further 17 days of strike action is due to take place over February and March. The precise dates are to be announced by the union next week.

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The action on Wednesday 1 February will coincide with Trades Union Congress’s (TUC) ‘protect the right to strike’ day. Five unions, UCU, NEU, ASLEF, PCS and RMT have already confirmed they will join the day of action against the Conservative government’s plans to introduce strict anti-strike measures through parliament.

University staff have already taken three days of strike action this academic year after management imposed a pay rise worth just 3% this year following over a decade of below-inflation pay awards.

UCU is demanding a meaningful pay rise to deal with the cost-of-living crisis as well as action to end the use of insecure contracts.

In a meeting between employers and trade unions yesterday [Monday 16 January], the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) refused to move from an updated 4-5% offer made last week. UCU said the offer is ‘not enough’.

In the pension dispute, UCU is demanding employers revoke the cuts and restore benefits. The package of cuts made last year will see the average member lose 35% of their guaranteed future retirement income. For those at the beginning of their careers, the losses are in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘Whilst the cost-of-living crisis rages, university vice-chancellors are dragging their feet and refusing to use the vast wealth in the sector to address over a decade of falling pay, rampant casualisation and massive pension cuts.

‘On 1 February, 70,000 university staff will walk out alongside fellow trade unions and hundreds of thousands of other workers to demand their fair share.

‘UCU remains committed to reaching a negotiated settlement, but if university employers don’t get serious and fast, more strike action will follow in February and March.’

In the pay and working conditions dispute, UCU is in dispute with 145 institutions. The union’s demands include a meaningful pay rise to help staff deal with the cost-of-living crisis, an agreed framework to eliminate insecure employment practices such as temporary and zero-hours contracts, and action to address dangerously high workloads. Since 2009/10 staff pay has declined in value by 25% relative to RPI, due to a series of below-inflation pay awards.


In the pension dispute, UCU is in dispute with 67 institutions. The union is demanding employers withdraw their cuts to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and restore benefits to 2021 levels. Last year employer representative Universities UK (UUK) pushed through cuts that will see a typical member lose 35% of their guaranteed retirement income. The cuts were made after a valuation of the scheme in March 2020 reported a deficit of £14bn. However, USS is now performing so well that the deficit has disappeared with the scheme now reporting a £1.8bn surplus, and data released by the trustee shows pension benefits can be restored for lower contributions and still leave the scheme in surplus

  •  Teachers vote to take strike action in February and March that affects most schools

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