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Staff at five Scottish universities to strike this week in rows over pay deductions, pay and working conditions

18 September 2023

Staff at five universities in Scotland will take strike action this week in ongoing disputes over pay and working conditions, and pay deductions.

The strike action is part of UK wide action with universities across the country being hit by at least five days of strike action before the end of September.  In Scotland, in addition to the five taking action this week, strike action is also planned next week.

The dispute centres on pay and working conditions. The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), the employers' negotiating body, has imposed a pay award for 2023/24 worth just 5% for most UCU members despite UCU members rejecting the offer.  As well as a better pay offer, UCU is also demanding action on gig-economy employment practices in universities along with action on staff workloads and pay gaps.  UCU branches at Stirling and Aberdeen are also taking action over those universities deducting punitive levels of pay from staff who took part in a marking and assessment boycott.  Staff at Stirling university are currently in the middle of three weeks of strike action.

Trade union legislation requires mandates for unions taking industrial action to be renewed every six months.  As well as the ongoing strike action, the union has also announced plans to re-ballot members which will allow action to be taken throughout the rest of 2023 and into the new year.

UCU's Scotland official, Mary Senior, said: 'No-one wants to take strike action but the actions of the employers and UCEA mean that we are again beginning the start of a new academic term with industrial action.  Last year university bosses made clear that they were prepared to sit back and see students suffer rather than negotiate a fair offer on pay and working conditions.  Their refusal to resolve the dispute means that the action continues with universities across Scotland and the UK holding five days of strike action before the end of September.

'UCU has sought to settle this dispute at every opportunity.  We desperately hope university principals realise that we are going nowhere without a fair settlement and make us a realistic offer. If they do not, as well as campuses being marred by picket lines during the start of term, we will look to continue action well into 2024.'

*UCU branches in the following Scottish universities will be taking part in strike action during the week beginning Monday 18 September:

  • Aberdeen University - Monday 18, Tuesday 19, Wednesday 20, & Thursday 21 September
  • Stirling University - Monday 18, Tuesday 19, Wednesday 20, Thursday 21 & Friday 22 September
  • Dundee University - Wednesday 20, Thursday 21 & Friday 22 September
  • Glasgow University - Monday 18 & Tuesday 19 September 
  • Strathclyde University - Monday 18 & Tuesday 19 September 
Last updated: 19 September 2023