Strike action in higher education

In the news: 13 May

Industrial action confirmed at universities over pay

UCU's confirmation of strike action in higher education received widespread coverage this week. Sally Hunt told the Independent and BBC that a 1.1% offer was insulting and said that 'industrial action which impacts on students is never taken lightly, but staff feel that they have been left with no alternative'.

Speaking to the Telegraph and Times Higher Education, Sally said that the ball was now in the employers' court but warned that staff would not tolerate a continued squeeze on their income. In Scotland, UCU official Mary Senior told the Herald that staff 'want to see a sensible offer which starts to address the real-terms pay cut they have endured since 2009'.

UCU responds to HE access reports

A new report from the Office of Fair Access showed that universities are missing 30% of high-level targets on university access. Highlighting concern at, Sally Hunt told the Independent that the 60% drop in part time learners since 2006 was a 'scandal' and called for a national inquiry on access and admissions reform to address 'persistent barriers'.

The Higher Education Policy Institute also published a report this week revealing under-achievement of young men in higher education, which echoed UCU research on the differences in attitudes towards higher education and careers advice amongst young men and women. Calling for more support to be given to outreach programmes and careers advice, Sally Hunt said, 'Whilst we welcome HEPI's research, we are concerned that class, gender and schooling still play far too large a part in whether young people even consider university, with boys from state schools and the poorest economic backgrounds faring worst.'

Last updated: 1 April 2019