University and College Union announce 18 days of industrial action

The University and College Union has announced 18 days of industrial action in February and March.

UCU members protesting in Wolverhampton
UCU members protesting in Wolverhampton

UCU members at the University of Wolverhampton are striking over pay, working conditions and pension cuts and across the country 70,000 UCU members will walk out.

Seven weeks will be affected by industrial action starting on Wednesday, February 1. The UCU have given prior notice to strike on Thursday, February 9, Friday, February 10, Tuesday February 14, Wednesday. February 15, Thursday, February 16, Tuesday, February 21, Wednesday, February 22, Thursday, February 23, Monday February 27, Tuesday February, 28 and Wednesday, March 1 and Thursday, March 2.

There will be no industrial action on the week commencing Monday, March 6.

The walk outs will begin again on Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17 and the final week of strikes will be Monday, March 20, Tuesday, March 21 and Wednesday, March 22.

The UCU claim the industrial action will be the biggest series of strikes ever to hit UK university campuses.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: "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.

"There is a clear route out of these disputes, but at present vice-chancellors lack the political will to take it. They are failing staff who want to get back to work, and students who want to get on with their studies."

She added: "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.

"A resolution can be reached, but that is in the gift of university vice-chancellors who need to urgently reassess their priorities and deliver a deal that benefits staff and students. From February, our union will begin reballoting its members to allow action to continue through the rest of the academic year, should they continue to drag their feet."

This week the UCU is meeting with university employer representative the Universities and Colleges Employers Association. The union wants employers to substantially improve on the pay offer of 4-5 per cent to avoid disruption.

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

Last year Wolverhampton University announced it was axing 138 courses which would result at least 100 staff leaving their jobs.

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