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Solid support for strikes sends clear message to universities

25 November 2019

UCU said that strong shows of support for strikes at 60 UK universities* sent a clear message that staff would not settle for pay cuts, increased pension costs or deteriorating conditions.

  • 3,500 people have joined the union in the three weeks since it announced the strike dates
  • UCU members at 60 UK universities are walking out for eight days from today until Wednesday 4 December
  • Angela Rayner tells universities to put students first and bring reasonable offer to negotiating table

The union said it welcomed a call from shadow education secretary Angela Rayner for universities to put students first and bring a reasonable offer back to the negotiating table. UCU has warned that if universities fail to make improved offers then further waves of strike action could follow in the new year, with even more staff taking part. 

UCU is currently consulting with branches at other universities about being balloted again to join further action and revealed today that 3,500 people have joined the union in the three weeks since it announced this round of eight strike days.

Angela Rayner will be among the speakers at a rally in Manchester later today as strikers assemble at St Peter's Chaplaincy on Oxford Road from 11:15am. There are also rallies in Bristol and Newcastle with others planned for later in the week in cities across the UK. All the latest news from the picket lines and rallies is available on UCU's strike page.

Last month, UCU members backed strike action in two disputes, one on changes to the USS pension scheme and one on universities' failure to make improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads. Overall, 79% of UCU members who voted backed strike action in the ballot over changes to pensions. In the ballot on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads, 74% of members polled backed strike action. 

As well as eight strike days from 25 November to Wednesday 4 December, UCU members will begin 'action short of a strike'. This involves things like working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'We have been receiving news of solid support for the strikes across the UK. That support sends a clear message to universities that staff will not settle for pay cuts, increased pension costs or deteriorating conditions.

'We agree with Angela Rayner that universities should be putting students first and coming back to us with a better offer to try and avoid further disruption. We have seen thousands of people join the union in the few weeks since we announced this round of strikes and, if universities continue to refuse to negotiate seriously, more action with even more people involved could be on the cards.'

* UK universities affected by strike action from Monday 25 November

Both disputes (42):

1.     Aston University

2.     Bangor University

3.     Cardiff University

4.     University of Durham

5.     Heriot-Watt University

6.     Loughborough University

7.     Newcastle University

8.     The Open University

9.    The University of Bath

10.  The University of Dundee

11.  The University of Leeds

12.  The University of Manchester

13.  The University of Sheffield

14.  University of Nottingham

15.  The University of Stirling

16.  University College London

17.  The University of Birmingham

18.  The University of Bradford

29.  The University of Bristol

20.  The University of Cambridge

21.  The University of Edinburgh

22.  The University of Exeter

23.  The University of Essex

24.  The University of Glasgow

25.  The University of Lancaster

26.  The University of Leicester

27.  City University

28.  Goldsmiths College

39.  Queen Mary University of London

30.  Royal Holloway

31.  The University of Reading

32.  The University of Southampton

33.  The University of St Andrews

34.  Courtauld Institute of Art

35.  The University of Strathclyde

36.  The University of Wales

37.  The University of Warwick

38.  The University of York

49.  The University of Liverpool

40.  The University of Sussex

41.  The University of Ulster

42.  Queen's University Belfast

Pay and conditions dispute only (14):

1.     Bishop Grosseteste University

2.     Bournemouth University

3.     Edge Hill University

4.     Glasgow Caledonian University

5.     Glasgow School of Art

6.     Liverpool Hope University

7.     Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts

8.     Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

9.     St Mary's University College, Belfast

10.  Roehampton University

11.  The University of Oxford

12.  Sheffield Hallam University

13.  The University of Brighton

14.  The University of Kent

USS pensions dispute only (4):

1.       Scottish Association of Marine Science

2.       The University of Aberdeen

3.       The University of East Anglia

4.       Institute for Development Studies

Last updated: 18 February 2022