UCU ballots extend strike action threat until October

The University and College Union will decide at a meeting later this month whether to continue strike action over pensions, pay and working conditions

The University and College Union (UCU) may pursue further strikes after union members at 40 universities voted to support continued industrial action.

The results of a ballot on pay and working conditions gives UCU members at 36 universities the legal right to stage strikes during the next six months. In a separate ballot, UCU members at 24 institutions voted to support strikes over the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). UCU members at three universities – Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University and Queen Mary University of London – already have live strike mandates.

The figures suggest a reduced appetite for strikes from earlier in the year. Between February and March 2022, UCU members at 68 universities went on strike over pensions, pay and conditions.

Our union will now be taking these latest ballot results to a special meeting of its higher education sector where members will discuss how they wish to use this new mandate for action
– Jo Grady, UCU

The union’s general secretary, Jo Grady, said the results were “a damning indictment of the way vice-chancellors run universities and treat their staff”. Vice-chancellors are on “eye-watering salaries”, and had “shown zero willingness to listen” to UCU members, complained Grady.

“Our union will now be taking these latest ballot results to a special meeting of its higher education sector where members will discuss how they wish to use this new mandate for action,” the general secretary added.

Forty-two universities, including the 37 institutions that voted for strikes, can also take action short of a strike, such as marking boycotts.

UCU members have taken 13 days of strike action this year.

On 20 April, UCU will hold an HE conference on the pay and working conditions – referred to as the Four Fights dispute – with members and branches. The conference will decide whether to hold strike action in the summer or early autumn.


Read more: Most university staff considering quitting in next five years – UCU

Image via Flickr. 

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