University staff across the country set to strike for ten days affecting one million students
The University and College Union (UCU) has confirmed that further strike action will be taking place across 68 UK universities from Monday 14th February.
University staff will strike for ten days out of a three week period, in protest against proposed 35 percent pension cuts as well as pay gaps, poor working conditions, and ‘insecure’ contracts.
UCU general secretary, Jo Grady, said: “staff are being left with no option but to walk out again.” She added:
“For a sector that is worth tens of billions of pounds and enjoys record levels of student growth it is beyond disgraceful that in return staff get vicious pension cuts, falling pay and are pushed to breaking point under deteriorating working conditions.”
The strikes are estimated to disrupt the teaching of over 1 million students across the country, with 50,000 university staff members expected to take part. However, the National Union of Students (NUS) has shown solidarity with the UCU as the NUS president, Larissa Kennedy, has said: “As students, we are acutely aware that staff working conditions are our learning conditions.” The NUS is set to lead a student strike in conjunction with the UCU’s walkout, which will address concerns about the cost of university attendance and issues of accessibility for disabled students.
The UCU has received some backlash from students and other student unions alike as the 2022 walkout comes after a four year wave of university strikes starting in February 2018, affecting many students over the course of their entire degree. Universities UK sympathised with students and suggested that instead of further disrupting student learning, the UCU should “focus on working with employers to find a viable and affordable solution to the 2020 valuation which avoids the unaffordably high costs members and employers are facing from April.”
Tim Quine, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter, confirmed via an email to all students that the university staff’s turnout for the re-ballot was below the 50 percent minimum required threshold for action and consequently students will face no disruption.
Editor: Orla Mackinnon