Dates and times of two-hour walkouts to target teaching in universities announced

15 January 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

UCU has today announced plans for a series of two-hour strikes aimed at disrupting teaching at UK universities as part of a row over pay.

The union says universities across the UK will face the largest ongoing disruption of teaching ever undertaken if the increasingly fractious dispute over staff pay is not resolved in the next week. Tens of thousands of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practicals will be at risk of cancellation as UCU members walk out for two hours over a series of days.

The first three two-hour stoppages will take place at these times:

  • Thursday 23 January 11am-1pm
  • Tuesday 28 January 2pm-4pm
  • Monday 10 February 9am-11am

This latest action follows two days of strike action last term and will take place against a backdrop of UCU members already working to contract. The industrial action has escalated after the university employers refused to improve a 'miserly' 1% pay offer. UCU says the latest 1% offer was an insult too far after members have seen their pay fall by 13% in real terms since 2009.

The likelihood of the dispute being resolved before the next round of industrial action looks increasingly unlikely after a string of embarrassing stories about vice-chancellors' pay shone a new light on what UCU says is the hypocrisy of those at the top enjoying huge pay increases, while pleading poverty when it comes to staff pay.

UCU pointed out that the university sector is in good financial shape (.pdf) and projecting growth in surpluses and reserves over the next few years. The union said if there was still no breakthrough after this round of two hour stoppages then it will think about the need to further escalate its action towards a marking boycott targeted at exams.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Despite another embarrassing round of embarrassing revelations about the very handsome pay rises those at the very top have enjoyed recently, universities are still refusing to improve a miserly 1% pay offer and are still oblivious to the hypocrisy of their actions.

'Any kind of disruption is always a last resort but, after five years of pay suppression and members 13% worse off in real terms, we have little option but to escalate our action.'

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