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University strikes ON after universities refuse to make further commitments on pensions, pay and working conditions

31 January 2023

  • UCU members at 150 UK universities are walking out on Wednesday (1 February)  
  • Disputes over pensions, pay and working conditions will affect 2.5 million students
  • 17 further days of strike action planned.

70,000 staff at 150 universities across the UK will be on strike tomorrow in disputes over pay, working conditions and pensions.

The strike is the first of 18 days which will impact 2.5 million students through February and March. UCU said the disruption is entirely the responsibility of university bosses who have refused to make staff fair offers.  

Staff will be picketing all 150 universities across the UK.

Last week university bosses offered staff a 5% pay award. UCU said the offer is 'not enough' and expects members to reject it in big numbers in a consultation which was launched yesterday.

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 career the losses are in the hundreds of thousands of pounds [NOTE 5].  

The sector holds £44bn in reserves and a yearly income of over £42bn.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'University vice-chancellors have been given multiple opportunities to use the sector's vast wealth to resolve these disputes. Instead, they have forced staff back to the picket line and brought disruption to students.  

'Staff aren't asking for much. They want a decent pay rise, secure employment and for devastating pension cuts to be reversed. These demands are reasonable and deliverable by a sector which has over £40bn in reserves.

 'Students back their staff taking action because they see day in day out the way that it treats those who do the work inside our universities.  

'There are 17 further days of strike action planned but it can be avoided. For that, we need university bosses to get serious and make much improved offers. If they don't any disruption that takes place is entirely their responsibility.'  

Last updated: 31 January 2023